Homelessness in the United States: Discerning Patterns to Dispers...

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Homelessness in the United States: Discerning Patterns to Disperse Solutions

By | Jan. 2006
Page 1 of 5
The U.S. has consistently failed to adequately address and respond to the permanent mark and complex challenges homelessness has left on society. A number of us have many options in our lives. I feel for anyone it is hard to imagine becoming homeless, because of the possible alternatives they think they may have rather than being on the streets. This is not true for most people who are homeless. They have run out of good options. That's why they are on the street. They constantly have to choose between very limited, mostly unattractive, alternatives that usually don't do much to improve their lives. Because of these limited options, it keeps the frustrated, in crisis, homeless people trapped on the street or in shelters trying to beat the odds. Sometimes, after all options seem exhausted, they stop trying. The various researches on homelessness conducted by the author (Henlsin, pp. 1-2, 123-124, 275-276) and my experience in volunteering in shelters and a game called Hobson's Choice (http://www.realchangenews.org/hobsons/index.html, n.d.), homelessness continues to be eye opening. Prior to volunteering at my first shelter, I was required to play this game called Hobson's Choice, which is an effective tool in highlighting the invisible plight and silent frustrations that many of the impoverished face daily. It gives you a sense of what this might be like to be without real options. Out of the four options I played, the fourth situation seemed to weaken my social safety net to the point I gave up, finding myself on the streets without shelter. My initial journey began with me being hospitalized for three weeks and thus being unemployed and unable to pay rent. My only available option, so I believed, was to move in with my parents. They agreed and I immediately sought welfare assistance and assistance to find affordable housing. I was placed on the wait list for six months, of course, because affordable housing in Northern Virginia is not plentiful....

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