05 March 4, 2014
In the U.S. there seems to be a lot of homeless people. Approximately 3.5 million people are likely to experience homelessness in any given year(www.nlchp.org). There are many reasons why people become homeless which are, domestic violence, addiction disorders, lack of jobs, mental and medical health issues, lack of education, and insurance. Some of these problems spiral out of control resulting in the inability to provide for oneself or ones family. In most cases homelessness is rarely caused by one factor but it can happen.
Fifty percent of the cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness. Approximately sixty three percent of homeless women have experienced domestic violence in their lives (National Coalition for the Homeless). Women generally are scared to ask for help for the fear of the one causing their violence may take it out on the one that helps her so therefore women tend to fend for themselves. Some women think it will ruin their pride to ask for help so they stay until the violence gets so bad they can’t take it anymore. So they choose to be homeless verses asking friends and family for help.
Addiction and substance abuse isn’t generally a cause of its own in homelessness but it does happen that way. Most people that have an addiction or substance abuse problem are already homeless but for some people it is a reason for becoming homeless. Someone who has a severe addiction will spend their last dollar to get whatever it is they are addicted to. In the most severe case of some addicts don’t care about bills being paid or their family being provided for they are just worried about getting a fix. They lose interest in going to work or can’t because they are messed up on drugs and end up losing their job and subsequently end up losing their family and then losing their home and everything they own (Beasley, Toni).
The worsening of the economy and rising unemployment numbers emphasize a number of reasons with homelessness continues to exist and grow in exponential numbers in the U.S. Ever since the recession the economy has went downhill as far as jobs. People have suffered layoffs, cut hours, cut in pay, and even termination. Ones that didn’t already have a job are finding it harder to find a job. Most jobs that you can find easily are minimum wage or less. One person can’t provide for a family and pay all the bills on that kind of income. Unemployment, under-employment, and low wage employment are frequent causes of homelessness. The loss of a job leads to one falling behind on rent or mortgages ultimately leading to eviction and foreclosure.
Approximately sixteen percent of the single adult homeless population suffers from some form of severe and persistent illness. Many people that have a mental illness or a medical condition don’t have insurance to get help. Not having insurance forces them to pay outrageous prices for doctor appointments and treatments. If they have to go to a specialist it cost even more which will either result it taking money away from housing bills or having to file bankruptcy which could possibly cause them to lose everything. If they don’t get treatment and end up having something major wrong It could affect their job performance and end up losing their job. If they lose their job then they end up not paying bills which will result in being homeless.
A lack of education can also play a part in what kind of job one can get and the rate of pay one will get. Now a day it is hard to get a job with no education or even just having a high school diploma. For a good paying job, education is a must have. It’s hard for people that are who are barely making ends meet to be able to pay for a college education and most of the time you will have to pay out of pocket on top of getting financial aid and other grants.
Not having insurance can also contribute to becoming homeless. If one doesn’t have insurance to cover medical bills they have to be paid out of pocket. Paying medical bills out of pocket will take all your money quick, because most of the time you have to pay upfront at the time of service so you may be forced to use bill money to pay for your visit. If one has to get any kind of medication it has to be paid for out of pocket because of no insurance and some medicine can be very costly. Depending on the severity of your health issue, you may have to go to a specialist or have a lot of test done and those things can add up quickly, but if you absolutely have to choose life or death and paying your bills, you probably will use your bill money to pay for whatever treatment that needs to be done. The National Health Care for the Homeless Council states that fifty percent of personal bankruptcies in the United States are related to health care problems(Volker, Marie Anne).
Homelessness results from a complex set of circumstances that require people to choose between shelter, food, insurance, and other basic needs. Only a concerted effort to ensure jobs that pay a livable wage, adequate support for those that cannot work, affordable housing, access to help for battered women, and affordable healthcare insurance will help bring an end to homelessness. We need more housing for persons with disabilities, more or better paying jobs, more employment training programs, more mainstream assisted housing, more addiction and substance abuse assistance, and better assistance for mental health.
Published by the National Coalition for the Homeless. Www.nationalhomeless.org Beasley, Toni interview on February 23, 2014
Volker, Marie Anne Www.philasocialinnovations.org