Homelessness in America

Topics: Homelessness, Mental disorder, Schizophrenia Pages: 5 (1840 words) Published: June 2, 2013
Evelyn Perler
Homelessness in America: A Research Paper
Homelessness is the state of lacking permanent residence. This phenomenon is a result of many different factors including mental disease, illness, discrimination, loss of job, and/or inability to find work. Around 3.5 million people experience homelessness in a year in the United States of America. The homeless population includes males, females, and non-binary persons of all ages. About half of the homeless are single males. A quarter of the homeless population are single females. Children, people under the age of eighteen, make up around 39% of the homeless population. There are about three times as many homeless children in 2013 in America compared to the amount of homeless children there was in 1983, Families with children are the fastest growing entity of those who are homeless. The homeless are a neglected part of our society that deserve rights and respect. Instead of chastising these people for what many is a problem out of their control, we should help them to become more healthy members of our community. Homelessness is a social issue that affects not only the individual, but the entire fabric of society.

What is a homeless person? The Merriam Webster dictionary defines homeless as, “having no home or permanent place of residence”. When you think of homeless people, you may think of people sleeping in cardboard boxes and holding up hand-made signs with their dirt encrusted fingers begging for a dollar. You may walk past street people, nose high in the air and the reinsurance that all homeless people are lazy people who have faulted themselves into a bad situation. Many walk past street people every day, their pin money feeling like weights in their back pockets, trying to avoid eye contact with someone who doesn’t have to ability to retain residence and is struggling to rekindle their hope for a better life. However, most homeless people don’t conform to the popularly excepted stereotype of a dirty, bearded, begging pauper in rags. The woman with her children that were in front of you in the grocery store line, flipping through coupons and using pennies to be able to afford her food, is living in her car. Maybe she was laid off of her job at the accounting firm and her amount of debt made it impossible for her family to stay in her town house. Perhaps she didn’t have any educational opportunities as a young adult and her minimum wage job is unable to afford any two-bedroom apartment in the entire United States. A variety of situations could have led to this young mother’s homeless state. There is no one rationale for homelessness. The only thing all homeless people have in common is that they are unable to afford housing. There is no single cause to homelessness, and because of that, there is no simple resolution.

There is an alarming amount of laws barring the homeless. There have been many instances of cities “cracking down” on homeless people with laws that turn the homeless into criminals. In Washington D.C., it is considered a crime to sleep on a park bench. A law in Tucson made it illegal to camp out on city property. Certain cities in Indiana, Ohio, and California passed laws making “aggressive panhandling” and “abusive soliciting” illegal. These laws can be considered unconstitutional, as the First Amendment protects the right to solicit aid. Homeless people usually lack the resources to fight discrimination against them, making them easy targets for police brutality, especially if they fall into other homeless sub-populations such as being African-American, Latino, disabled, Gay, and/or Transgender. If you happen to witness police abuse to homeless people, record the incidence and promulgate the occurrence. Everybody deserves rights and respect. Many consider housing a human right. There are 18.6 million vacant homes in America. That is around 5.3 homes for every person that is homeless in a year. Should people suffer by sleeping in horrible...

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