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Published: Friday 25th of January 2013

Homeless Essay Example


The United States is experiencing a significant problem on the issue of homelessness. Government departments and social facilities are facing an uphill task in dealing with it. There are more than 500,000 people in the United States that are homeless at any given moment. Children make a quarter of the half a million people homeless in America. The number one cause of these enormous figures of homeless people is the absence of affordable housing.

People At Risk of Homelessness

Most people are clueless about what homelessness entails because they have no firsthand interaction with homeless people. It is not the general opinion of the drunk homeless people we always have in mind. It affects everyone at risk of the causes of homelessness. Children living in the United States make up to 25% of the homeless people. Out of this, up to a million attending public schools are in the category of homeless people. Many organizations make it difficult to know the real figures of homeless people as they have a different understanding of what homelessness is. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has statistics on homeless people who lack both permanent and temporary shelter. While the National Centre for Homeless Education papers those requiring permanent shelters, those children sharing a house on short terms and children roaming the streets with the hope of getting foster care approvals. These large numbers of homeless children lack their parents or guardian hence lack direction and guide in life. Veterans also contribute mainly to the number of homeless people. There are more than 57,000 homeless veterans and up to 40 % of this number sleeping in the streets and parks at any given moment in the night. These streets and parks are open air and lack shelters. These homeless veterans contribute over 11% of the whole number of homeless people in the United States.

The Leading Causes of Homelessness in America

The increased absence of affordable housing services is among the primary contributing factors to the dire state of homelessness in America. This trend is bound to follow suit because of the consistent annual cut of the budget of housing by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Close to 10,000 units of subsidized low-income housing disappear every year. One-eighth of America's homes housing low-income earners have steadily faded over the years starting from 2001. Contrary to the common belief, these declining figures are affecting both low and middle-income earners alike. Many people are spending more than half of their salaries on housing. Mortgage properties started closing in a ratio of 1:10 from 2008, scattering people's plans on rents and increasing the numbers of those who want to live in affordable houses. Unfortunately, there are no consulting agencies on public rental help expanding the line of the requiring them over the years. Recently, when the consulting agency opened their doors after 14 years of not allowing new potential clients, they were overwhelmed by over 10,000 families logged in their site seeking their services and approval. Domestic violence is also a cause of homelessness in the United States. The most affected population is the female gender. Sexual assaults, physical and psychological abuse contributes to over 90% of females among the homeless population. They run away from their own houses due to the fear of losing their lives in an environment brewing frequent violence. They then decide to stay in homeless environments which to them is the lesser evil. They are somewhat adept in these conditions than going back to their own homes where abuse and violence are the norm. Natural calamities are also on the list of causes of homelessness. Hurricanes, tornadoes, natural spreading fires, and floods destroy a large number of properties leaving a significant amount of people homeless. Accidents and domestic fires also ravage a big chunk of residential apartments overwhelming the help given by a brigade of firefighters. These unexpected events make people lose their identity cards, property ownership documents and transaction documents. Application for renewal takes time. Most relatives, friends, and guardians are unyielding and unresponsive to the outcry of those affected leaving them to face hard times during recuperation. Their only remaining option is seeking shelter in the streets as a mode of survival. Some post-occupational events lead to homelessness. Soldiers from the armed forces who suffer from life-threatening injuries from war-stricken regions are left incapacitated and can hardly look after themselves. This type of life is a complete turnaround from their normal livelihood. Those coming from families not willing to take them back opt for street life.

The Effects of Homelessness

The fact of staying homeless is a big problem in itself. Still, there are many effects of homelessness because of exposure to a plethora of issues. Many agencies and employment organizations demonize homelessness. This negative attitude has a significant impact on those eligible for a job application, yet they fall into the homeless population. Many numbers of homeless people get unemployed. This population become idle and start engaging in criminal activities. The chances of a homeless person becoming criminal are very high. Rental corporations have stereotyped homeless people making it hard for an established homeless people to acquire housing services. A 2014 study by The National Law Centre documents 18% of 187 cities sampled illegalizing sleeping in public places, 43% of these cities jail people sleeping on cars and 53% illegalizes sitting or sleeping on specific public areas. Health problems are another effect brought by homelessness. These health complications have serious detrimental effects on the homeless population. Mental incapacitation is the leading health problem affecting about 25% of the homeless population. This figure is very high considering that 6% of the average people are affected by mental issues. Unfortunately, close to a half of the mentally incapacitated homeless people worsen the situation by frequent use of self-prescribed drugs. Raised levels of the drugs in the body intoxicate the body system by causing high dependency and increases further organ failures. The life expectancy of individuals living in such conditions is also reduced to 30 years less the ordinary person - 47 years of age. Unlike the general population where women life's life-span is always high, homeless women life expectancy is 43 years of age.


It is essential to understand that homelessness is not only brought by people's inability to fend for themselves but also specific objectives. These include lack of affordable housing, domestic violence, natural calamities and post-occupation events. The United States faces a big task in managing homelessness as it affects everyone. The absence of affordable housing and abandonment of low-income population increases the numbers of those with nowhere to stay. These issues should be dealt with urgently by the key stakeholders.