Essay on Homelessness

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Homelessness is one of the major problems affecting people around the world. Three things are very essential for survival and success. These are food, clothing and shelter. However, some people around the world find shelter a luxury since they cannot afford a decent place to lay their heads at night. It is important to note that the definition of homelessness differs from one society to the other and this definition affects their goals about the issue. Generally, homeless people are roofless as well. However, it is necessary to make a distinction between the two terms for a better understanding of what it means to have a home. Notably, a house does not always mean a home because there are other components that should be incorporated to bring the real meaning of a home.

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Therefore, a home is more than the physical structure and includes the feelings that people express in wherever place they live. Generally, the contentment of oneself and the sense of safety and freedom as well as the social connections of people to the environment, regardless of whether they have relations by blood, can form part of the definition of a home (Philipps, 2012). Consequently, a place where one lives without feeling any social connections to that environment is simply a shelter. In that regard, it is possible for people to feel socially connected while in the streets and, therefore, refer to this as a home even when no physical structure exists.

Additionally, homelessness falls into two categories, which are roofless and houseless (Philipps, 2012). Roofless refers to a situation where one has no roof over his or her head. Generally, this category comprises of the people who live in the streets, under trees and at the park benches. On the other hand, houseless refers to the situations where people live under roofs such as in the cars and tents but not a house. It is also necessary to mention about the precarious housing, which includes the people who stay in places like hotels and hostels.

According to Shumsky (2012), an estimate of 1.6 million people in the United States live in emergency shelters or transitional housing and further shows that 3.5 million people, which refers to one percent of the US population, fall likely of getting homeless every year. Additionally, statistics in 2011 showed that 636,017 people slept on the streets with 107,148 of them appearing to be chronically homeless in the year 2011 (Shumsky, 2012).

Contributing factors to homelessness

Many factors contribute to the rate of homelessness today. One of these aspects is gender, with men being more likely to end up homeless than women. However, it is important to consider elements of the male gender role that contribute to this notion. For example, men have a greater likelihood to be veterans because they have a tendency not to seek help for their problems such as alcoholism, mental illness, and drug abuse. In fact, estimates show that 38% of the homeless persons suffer from alcoholism while 26% of them engage in drug abuse while for the general population, only about 15% engage in alcoholism and 85 in drug abuse (Philipps, 2012). Additionally, the primary causes of homelessness may affect both genders equally. However, women are more likely to engage in diverse activities such as survival sex, in exchange for housing. Consequently, the number of homeless men rises over the women and children.


Philipps, K. (2012). "Homelessness: Causes, Culture and Community Development as a Solution". Pell Scholars and Senior Theses.Shumsky, N. L. (2012). Homelessness: A documentary and reference guide. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood.

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