Homelessness in America

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The question what homelessness means occupies humans minds and makes people think over this matter. Homelessness is not just an absence of the roof over ones head because a home is not only a shelter where a person can sleep. It is a place where an individual feels in safety. There is a good statement that says: The home is where the heart is. So, when somebody loses a home, it means that he or she loses their roots, identity, and well-being. The topic that refers to homelessness provokes many discussions. Investigators argue the causes that give rise to high level of homelessness in the USA. So, the aim of this paper is to set forth the main reasons for homelessness and to analyze how homelessness affects American families.

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Some of the researchers state that only people who live in poverty may have to do with homelessness. They underline that this phenomenon may influence only people of certain race, ethnicity, age and financial status while others argue that it is a nationwide issue that deserves profound understanding and immediate problem solving. Certainly, it is rather difficult to estimate the significance of the problem because it can be challenging to judge what kind of people may be considered homeless. Nevertheless, statistics reveal that about 610,042 people were considered to be chronically homeless in 2013. Moreover, these people became homeless due to various reasons (Mowbray).

First of all, to support the assertion that this problem is really grave, it is relevant to review the main causes of homelessness. The majority of the researchers name such reasons as:

Mental illness

Financial crisis


Drug addiction.

The first reason is a mental disease. The complex analysis of this problem shows that a vast majority of homeless people suffer from mental disorders. That is why this reason is one of the most significant ones. People who have mental illnesses should receive a proper medical treatment and necessary medications. However, some people cannot simply afford expensive medications because they spend the main part of their salary on housing. Another important fact is that people may refuse to take medicines due to their fears provoked by their disease or due to the negative experience. The consequence of this problem is a job loss because of the illness and the inability to pay for the lodging. As a matter of fact, all homeless people are in need of proper medical support and it does not depend on the illness they suffer (The PLoS Medicine Editors).

The second reason is financial crisis. This problem is obvious because when people do not have money to pay for their dwelling, they are forced to live on the street. Financial crisis can include debts, unpaid loan, health care expenses and termination of employment contract. All these financial problems leave no choice to people and make them leave their sweet homes and become homeless.

The third reason that may play an important part in human life is divorce. Usually, when people decide to divorce they have a desire not to live with each other. So, one person should leave the house. If this individual is unemployed or does not have money to rent an apartment, he may become homeless. The possible reason for divorce can be domestic violence that only makes the situation worse. Thus, nearly the whole family may become a victim of abuse that makes it search for support and a new house.

The fourth reason is drug addiction. People who suffer from any kind of abuse may have both health and financial problems. Expensive drugs stimulate people to search money for them. They start selling costly things that they have in their house that provoke family quarrels and even divorce. To purchase a new dose of a drug, a person may even commit a crime that leads to the arrest. The other consequences of the drug abuse are job loss, debts and sometimes death. Thus, an addicted person may become homeless and, furthermore, may force the family to leave the house where they live because of the loss of financial means.

Homelessness can affect anyone: men and women, young and veterans, children and families. The main part of the homeless population inhabit shelters that were organized for such people but approximately 35 percent of people live on the streets or places that are unsuitable for inhabitation. The major part of the homeless population is individual adults, 36 percent of the whole population are people who live in families. 92,600 people are considered to be chronically homeless. These are people who stay in shelters or live on the streets and do not have an ability to change this situation. They live in shelters for a long time or repeatedly.

Families who experience financial problems or domestic violence are at high risk of homelessness. The National Alliance to End Homelessness state: A family is considered to be chronically homeless if this family experiences difficult conditions and has been continuously homeless for one year or more or has experienced at least 4 episodes of homelessness in the last 3 years("The State Of Homelessness In America 2014").

Family homelessness can be invisible at the first sight. Sometimes, it is hard to believe that there are families that may experience such difficulties. A family with children is one of the major groups that experiences homelessness in America. The number of families who are in need of a shelter grows day by day. Homelessness affects families causing instability and insecurity. A devastating impact of the homelessness leads to:

Loss of jobs and possessions

Loss of relationships with friends and relatives

Emotional stress and permanent anxiety

Poor nutrition

Health problems and even mental illnesses

As for children, they also may have difficulties with their academic achievements and problems with their development (Rossi).

In conclusion, homelessness is a complex issue. It is also the topic of extremely heated discussions. Researchers argue the causes of homelessness but what unites them is that homeless people should be provided with appropriate homes. Then, they are in need of support and medical service. Homeless people should be supported with psychological service and training to assist them in these difficulties. They do not need specific shelters and refuges. Their homes should reflect that all of them are different. Homeless populations may also have all the necessary devices to overcome their problems (Rosenheck).

Analyzing the main reasons for homelessness, it should be mentioned that mental illnesses, financial crisis that leads to poverty and drug addiction are among the most significant ones because they provoke chronic homelessness among not only individuals but also the whole families.

Work Cited

Mowbray, Carol T. "Homelessness In America: Myths And Realities.". American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 55.1 (1985): 4-8. Print.

Rosenheck, R. "Homelessness In America.". Am J Public Health 84.12 (1994): 1885-1886. Print.

Rossi, P. H. "Troubling Families: Family Homelessness In America". American Behavioral Scientist 37.3 (1994): 342. Print.

The PLoS Medicine Editors "Homelessness Is Not Just A Housing Problem". PLoS Med 5.12 (2008): e1000003. Print.

"The State Of Homelessness in America 2014". National Alliance to End Homelessness. N.p., 2014. Web 1 Apr . 2016.

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