The Epidemic Of Homelessness

Topics: Homelessness, Criminal justice, Antisocial personality disorder Pages: 5 (1047 words) Published: November 25, 2014


The Epidemic Of Homelessness
And The Impact It Has On The United States

Jeff Damitz

One of the sociologic problems that have always faced society is the presence of homelessness population in a percentage of societies’ citizens. The National Health Care of the Homeless Council (2014) describes the official definition of homeless at “an individual without permanent housing who may live on the streets; stay in a shelter, mission, single room occupancy facilities, abandoned building or vehicle; or in any other unstable or non-permanent situations.” In some cases being a part of the homeless population in a temporary situation but for many homeless people this lifestyle will be a permanent way of living. There are some resources for the homeless populations to assist them with both their current need for shelter and resources to assisting them with more permanent solutions to their complications. The problem is that these resources are often underfunded and overwhelm with the amount of people the need to help. According to The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (2013) there is on average 610,042 homeless people in the United States in the year 2013. All though, from the data, this number is declining from previous year but there are still a great number of United State citizens that are currently without shelter. What this number also doesn’t include at the citizen who are on the verge of becoming homeless daily. The homeless population can causes great strain on the United States and affect its citizens in many ways. There is direct relationship between the homeless population and its strain that places on healthcare and criminal justice systems (Homeless Cause and Effect, 2001). Members of the homeless population tend to be in fair to poor heath conditions and more susceptible to diseases related to poor nutrient, lack of shelter resulting in being more exposed to the environment, poor hygiene, lack of resources for preventative care and an increase likely hood of trauma from being in shelters and living on the street. With all of these risk factors members of the homeless population often tend to frequently go to hospital with longer hospitalization stays then the average citizen. This puts strain on the hospitals resource but having these uninsured patients utilizing the limited resources that hospital have with little chance of regaining the monetary value of these services for this patient. Members of the homeless population often tend to place a hefty strain on the criminal justice system. According to Homeless Cause and Effect (2001) there are four major reasons of why the homeless population is more often involved in criminal activity in compared to the average citizen. The first reason being that for many homeless people the only way that they are able to get the resources that they need for everyday living is by criminal activity. They often find it difficult to obtain normal careers in comparison to average citizens. That in order to acquire the resource need for living they will often resort to shoplifting, drug dealing, pilfering and prostitution. The second way they increase the strain on the justice system is that a number of the homeless population then to be habitual criminal. They often suffer from antisocial personalities, mental disabilities and drug disorders and don’t find a moral dilemma with breaking the law. The third reason there often tends to be a higher criminal rate in the homeless population is that in order to obtain shelter and food for a period of time the homeless with manipulate police into arresting them so they can gain temporary shelter while in jail. The fourth reason is that members of the homeless population often have some psychiatric problems that often manifest into bizarre and inappropriate behaviors. By exhibiting these behaviors they are often incarcerated for them rather being treated and institutionalized in more...

References: National Health Care for the Homeless Council (2014). What is the official definition of homelessness? Retrieved from http://www.nhchc.org/faq/official-definition-homelessness/
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (2013). The 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress. Retrieved from http://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/ahar-2013-part1.pdf
British Columbia (2001). Homelessness Cause and Effect. Retrieved from http://www.housing.gov.bc.ca/pub/Vol1.pdf
The Nation’s Voice on Metal Illness (2013). Homelessness. Retrieved form http://www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Policy/Fact_Sheets/homelessnessPFS.pdf
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