Social Problems in America

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The Effects of Poverty in America
Kimberly Penwell
SOC 203: Social Problems
Instructor: Sharon Chappelle
January 23, 2012

Poverty is one of the largest epidemics going on in the United States. There is a lot that comes with poverty including homelessness, unemployment, and hunger. These three problems are all linked together which causes the big problem of people living in poverty. One of the largest causes of poverty in this day and age is the countries recession. The people living in poverty have feelings of abandonment, helplessness, and embarrassment. Poverty is one of the hardest things people go through today in life and it is growing so fast that people are too oblivious to see it. Most people have their own opinions and views about poverty but we have been learning about the views and opinions of three groups of individuals. They are the symbolic interactionists, functionalists, and conflict theorists. While some people in America may be taking steps to end poverty others probably don’t care who is living in poverty because it is not them. Society can intervene and help the people who are living in poverty by increasing affordable housing, increasing job opportunities, and by increasing access to education and training opportunities. All these approaches can lead to more jobs which allow the people who live in poverty to provide for their families.

“At the UN’s World Summit on Social Development, the ‘Copenhagen Declaration’ described poverty as a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. When people are unable to eat, go to school, or have any access to health care, then they can be considered to be in poverty, regardless of their income” (ThinkQuest, 2006). There are people all around the world eating out of garbage cans, sleeping in cardboard boxes, or standing on streets asking for food or money because they are hungry. The writer has seen people standing on the streets saying they will work for food. Children all around the world are starving and so they end up stealing food just to survive. Poverty is not a just a problem itself but rather it has several other problems that form it. Homelessness, unemployment, and hunger are all problems that form the big problem we know as poverty.

People who do not have a regular home are known as homeless people. The homeless sleep where ever they can find whether it’s in the streets, in shelters, or under bridges. It is hard to get an accurate number of Americans who are homeless because the number increases and decreases on a regular basis. Also there are probably several homeless people that have not been counted. Homelessness does not affect just one gender, age, or ethnicity but rather has an effect on all kinds of people including children. A good portion of homeless people are children and it is sad to know that there are children that are living on the streets because their parents/family that provide for them. People become homeless for many different reasons. One of the major causes of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing. “The lack of affordable housing has lead to high rent burdens (rents which absorb a high proportion of income), overcrowding, and substandard housing. These phenomena, in turn, have not only forced many people to become homeless; they have put a large and growing number of people at risk of becoming homeless” (NCFTH, 2009). Some people get laid off from their job causing them to have nowhere else to go. People who are unemployed due to job loss often have their homes foreclosed on because they can’t afford the payments. Some people may try to get public assistance but don’t qualify for it. Public assistance is a public resource that many people try to qualify for but with the lack of availability of these resources it has caused an increase in people becoming homeless. Homeless...
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