Homelessness is a staid predicament in the United States and according to a recent research; there are approximately seven million homeless people in America. Furthermore, the subject of homelessness has remained a mounting concern within the United States of America.
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Additionally, a variety of factors contributes to homelessness and they are deep within the makeup of the economy thus homelessness has remained an area of concern to the government , the social service providers and the policy makers because it prevails among many families and individuals.
As a result, the causes of homelessness, which are economic, social and physical, require great considerations as procedures towards abolition of homelessness focus on manipulation of the causes and impediment of homelessness genesis.
Economic issues are key factors in epidemiology of homelessness because they affect the ability of people to own houses. Additionally, economic issues like unemployment, low paying jobs, poverty and lack of affordable housing contributes to homelessness in the United States (Reeve 123). To begin with, unemployment is the gravest cause of homelessness because unemployed people lack funds to settle bills (Burt 65).
According to a study done, unemployed people could not own houses, apply for a housing voucher or obtain housing subsidies (Donohoe 48). This meant that unemployed people would remain homeless forever if the same situation prevailed. On the other hand, low-paying jobs facilitate homelessness because people would want to meet their physiological needs before attending to other needs (Burt 42).
As a result, a person with little income would spend most of his income if not all on food and clothing thus remaining with little money that cannot settle house rent. According to a survey conducted, approximately sixty percent of the homeless people were working yet they were still homeless (Reeve 145). Moreover, their average income was less than one hundred dollars per month, which was far much lower than poverty level (Daly 56).
This means that poverty which results from unemployment or underemployment is a contributing factor to homelessness because unemployed person cannot afford a house without financial assistance from the government (Haig 612). Finally, lack of affordable housing aggravates homelessness because people cannot live beyond their standards. For instance, in a research carried out in Boston, majority of the respondent did not have enough income to maintain an apartment (Donohoe 41).
In the latest survey, social factors that include substance abuse, domestic violence, social exclusion and lack of accessible health care smoothens the progress of homelessness (Haig 580). On the one hand, alcoholism contributes to unemployment, which is the chief cause of homelessness (Helvie 37).
This is because an alcoholic person is not motivated to look for a job and incase the person finds a job, he spend most of his income drinking (Daly 42). On the other hand, some alcoholics get money from illegal sources and they never become homeless (Polakow 67).
Additionally, substance abuse may result into domestic violence that leads to homelessness because the family members have to part ways and incase one does not have money, he will end up with no home (Donohoe 50). According to a recent research, social exclusion that also results from domestic violence increases the chances of homelessness in the society (Burt 54).
For instance, an alcoholic father who constantly abuses his wife and daughters can cause havoc that results into homelessness because the wife and the children may be forced to take refuge to places they do not understand (Burt 31). Finally, lack of accessible health care indirectly causes homelessness (Donohoe 58). For instance, people with chronic illness who cannot access health care due to either distance or affordability may not go to work resulting to unemployment and possible homelessness.
Physical factors are factors within an individual that limits someone from achieving his objectives (Donohoe 44). In this case, a problem with an individual’s health, personal trait and education level contributes to homelessness (Daly 97). According to a study in United States, most of the mentally handicapped people were homeless because they could not get employment (Polakow 29).
Additionally, people with chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes reported that their health issues limited their mobility resulting into employment disruptions (Haig 626). On the contrary, another study reported that mental health issues were not risk factors for homelessness and in spite of some respondents feeling depressed prior to homelessness, they did not believe that mental illness contributed to homelessness (Kusmer 56).
Moreover, personal trait can also result into homelessness (Donohoe 59). For example, an aggressive person can misbehave and be imprisoned but ones he come out of jail, he may find it difficult to get an income source because people do not want to be associated with him and as a result, he ends up being homeless (Daly 51). On the other hand, lack of education adds to homelessness because of a variety of reasons.
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To begin with, an illiterate person cannot find employment due to lack of the required knowledge (Haig 631). To add on this, uneducated person does not have any skills to set up a business. Finally, most of the illiterate people usually find pleasure in substance abuse (Helvie 61). As a result, illiteracy leads to unemployment that in turn results to homelessness.
The solutions needed to decrease homeless people in the streets of United States are the same ones needed to prevent the occurrence of homelessness (Helvie 41). Moreover, three major strategies in alleviating homelessness include making houses more affordable, comprehensive health care and paradigm shift (Daly 18).
People who are homeless usually report lack of affordable houses as their reason of being homeless. As a result, many organizations are in operation to satisfy this need through construction of affordable houses (Kusmer 34).
For instance, the National Law Income Housing Coalition has decreased the housing funds so that many people can afford it (Haig 567). On the other hand, the strategy of comprehensive health care involves enacting of legislation like Bringing American Home Act that will provide comprehensive and accessible treatment for all (Helvie 41).
Finally, the paradigm shift entails a shift from managing the problem of homelessness with emergency shelters to ending homelessness by housing the homeless people (Donohoe 23). Additionally, the united state has programs directed towards alleviation of homelessness and they include Shelter Plus Care, Housing First and Assertive Outreach.
Shelter Plus care is a program supported by local funds and it gives a person housing subsides. On the other hand, Housing First houses homeless people and give them financial support while Assertive Outreach emphasizes on building a coalition between house owners and individual so that house owners do not force harsh rules on tenants (Burt 24).
In conclusion, the causes of homelessness in United States revolve around each other and no cause can stand on its own. For example, economic, social and physical causes lead to unemployment; therefore, unemployment is the major cause of homelessness in the United States. As a result, creation of employment will alleviate homelessness.
Burt, Martha. Homelessness: Prevention Strategies and Effectiveness. New York: NOVA Science Publisher, 2008. Print.
Daly, Gerald. Homeless: Policies, Strategies, and lives on the Street. New York: Routledge Taylor and Fransis, 2009. Print.
Donohoe, Martin. “Homeless in the United States: History, Epidemiology, Health Issues and Public Policy.” American Journal of Public Health 2345.65 (2010): 23-59. Print.
Haig, Friedmann. “Preventing Homelesness and Promoting Housing Stability: A Comperative Analysis.” American Journal of Public Health 78.90 (2010): 567- 631. Print.
Helvie, Carl. Homelessness in the United states, Europe and Russia: A Comperative Perspective. United States of America: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007. Print.
Kusmer, Keneth. “Down and Out on the Road: The Homeless in American History.” American Journal of Public Health 23.57 (2010): 34-56. Print.
Polakow, Valerie. International Perspective on Homelessness. United States of America: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2009. Print.
Reeve, Vanneman. “Main Causes of Homelessness.” Journal of Social Issues 45.258 (2007): 123-145. Print.