Hunger and Homelessness

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Hunger and Homelessness

1) The Problem - As we all know, hunger and homelessness have always been a problem. Anyone from a metropolitan area has probably been haggled for money on more than one occasion. But the issue has become bigger than the beggars in the street. According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors/Sodexho Survey on Hunger and Homelessness, a 24-city survey, requests for emergency food assistance increased by 12%, with 18% of requests having gone unmet. The report goes on to state that “Fifty-four percent of the people requesting emergency food assistance were members of families - children and their parents. Forty percent of the adults requesting food assistance were Employed(U.S. Conference of Mayors/Sodexho Survey on Hunger and Homelessness, p. 3).” Hunger and homelessness are worldwide issues. We, as Americans, tend to think of “poverty” as something that is prevalent more so in other countries, which it is, but every year, we seem to close the gap a little more. As we spend more and more money in Iraq, the Bush administration has continuously looked for ways to keep costs down at home. They have attempted to kill surveys that collect data on such things as hunger and homelessness on three different occasions including this most recent attempt at eliminating the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). SIPP, which costs an estimated $40 million per year, is projected to be slimmed down to $9.2 million. Groups such as the Conference of Mayors and Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) say that if this happens, we will no longer have large-scale information on program participation relating to hunger and homelessness.

2) Effects - “Homelessness is a very undesirable condition, both for the people it affects and for society in general. The effects of homelessness on children, for example, make it easy to see why many communities offer interventions to help keep families with children in housing. Compared to poor, housed children, homeless children have worse health (more asthma, upper respiratory infections, minor skin ailments, gastrointestinal ailments, parasites, and chronic physical disorders), more developmental delays, more anxiety, depression and behavior problems, poorer school attendance and performance, and other negative conditions (Buckner, 2004; Shinn and Weitzman, 1996).” When hunger and homelessness come to mind, most people tend to think of how much the government spends on prevention and programs for those who are actually homeless. Few people think about the people who aren’t insane, drug abusing veterans, but are a low income family of three and couldn’t make the rent. Which of course takes us to exactly how much the U.S. government does spend on Human Resources. Last year, the U.S. government spent roughly $748 billion on Health and Human Resources and $1.228 trillion on the war in the Middle East (WRL pie chart). With all of that money being spent, only $20 billion was spent on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)(Dept. of Health and Human Services). In both the long and short term, this is not a significant amount of money compared to what we, as a country, spend overseas, but with unemployment, homelessness and other such issues on the rise, why are the surveys that monitor these problems being proposed as cuttable costs rather than withdrawing from Iraq and saving $38 billion every month? According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors/Sodexho Survey on Hunger and Homelessness, 95% of the mayors that partook in the survey had to come up with their own solution to solving chronic homelessness. The city of Boston has actually had their master list of people living without shelter decrease each year with a little help from the Citizen’s Bank Foundation. If each major city in the U.S. could make some sort of tax write-off deal with a corporation such as that, the 3,500,000 homeless people in America might start having places to...
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