Homelessness in America
Each country in the world is faced with various social issues that attract the interests of society and the government. Homelessness is an enormous issue that America has been dealing with for years. There are millions of people, including children, families, veterans, and the elderly who go day to day without food, water or any form of shelter. Mentally ill people also have a rough time out on the streets due to their state of confusion, which makes it dangerous for them, as well as others to be on the streets. Many of these people have had no choice but to become homeless. Economic problems such as being laid off work, or the rise in the cost of housing have lead people to live on the streets.
While homeless people, especially children are facing many social and emotional issues there are programs and resources available to those in need. From a legal perspective there are also laws, criminal justice regulations and crime concerns derived from homelessness and the effects on the rest of society. I found the aspects of homelessness and the causes, the impacts it has on society, social and emotion problems of children, laws or regulations, and programs or resources to help the homeless most interesting. America needs to work on decriminalizing homelessness, as many of us are only a few pennies away from being there.
First I will begin with the causes of homelessness. People with social disabilities or financial problems usually will be abandoned by the society and become homelessness along the streets. The growing homeless population is a factor that shows people are suffering from unexpected financial problems and struggling in maintaining their life on a daily basis. People usually form opinions or stereotypes of homeless people and think they are dirty drug addicts, lazy, uneducated, and irresponsible. However, there are many people who have jobs and no drug or alcohol addictions, but still remain homeless because they cannot afford the luxury of having a house. Homelessness and poverty are very closely related. Some people are homeless because of a lack of affordable housing. Others because of incomes that are too low to pay for basic living expenses. Poor people are frequently unable to pay for housing, food, childcare, health care, and education. Most people, especially in today’s economy are living from pay check to pay check, and are only pennies away from becoming homeless.
Another aspect of homelessness is the impact it has on society, and it’s increasing population here in the United States. The Homeless have been turned away, especially in most of the urban cities due to lack of resources. “The number of homeless people increased dramatically in the 1980s, and homelessness was “discovered” as a hot issue at that time. But homeless people have always been part of American culture. In earlier times, they were called “vagrants” and “tramps.” Homelessness is almost always related to poverty: those who cannot afford housing find themselves homeless” (Homelessness, 2009). Many people will not admit they are homeless due to the fact they are either ashamed or embarrassed. Many homeless people live in motels, shelters, transitional homes, trailer parks, camping grounds, are awaiting foster homes, living in cars, parks, bus and train stations, abandoned buildings, and doubled up with friends and family. Homeless people face an intense struggle just to stay alive despite the fact that society turns its head from the problem. The government makes laws that discriminate against homeless people, which make it, illegal for them to survive.
From a criminal aspect, homeless people do have higher chances of being more criminally active, and pose higher rates of incarceration endangering the rest of society. “those experiencing homeless are found to be arrested more often, incarcerated longer, and re-arrested at higher rates than people with stable housing” (National Healthcare for the...
References: HOMELESS FAMILIES. (2003). In International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com.proxy- library.ashford.edu/entry/galemarriage/homeless_families
HOMELESSNESS. (2009). In Poverty and the Government in America: A Historical Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com.proxy- library.ashford.edu/entry/abcpga/homelessness
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (http://www.naehcy.org/)
National Healthcare for the Homeless Council. (2011). Criminal justice, homelessness & health. Retrieved from http://www.nhchc.org/wp- content/uploads/2011/09/CriminalJustice2011_final.pdf
Rafferty, Y., & Shinn, M. (1991). The impact of homelessness on children. The American Psychologist, 46(11), 1170-1170. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/212074901?accountid=32521
2013 United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. Retrieved from website: http://www.usich.gov/funding_programs/programs/transitional_living_program_tlp/
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