April 29, 2013
The United States is a rich country it should not have high percentages of homelessness. People from many other parts of the world come to the United States to live. How do citizens end up homeless? Before the deflation California, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington State had the highest rates of homelessness (Homelessness 25). “Do you have a quarter?” Every time I drive up and down in Ventura I see “Quarter Bob,” a homeless man in Ventura. He is one of the nicest homeless persons you will ever come across. Bob is either walking from the Westside back to the east or seen on Victoria Ave standing in front of Vons or CVS, where he asks whoever crosses his path for a quarter. Now you know how he got his nickname. Bob has been homeless for about five years. I still do not know the reason why he is homeless because I can barely understand him when he speaks due to the fact that he has no teeth. Homelessness is a serious problem because it mostly has to do with poverty, domestic violence, abuse of alcohol or drugs, unemployment, and shortage of affordable housing. Homeless people like Bob ask pedestrians for spare change, and sleep in public places. The real cause of homelessness is that many of them are disabled, veterans with post-traumatic-syndrome-disuse, and drug or alcohol abusers.
Being disabled can make it difficult to work to afford adequate housing. Forty-Percent of homeless people in America are disabled (Homeless Children with Disabilities in America). The number of persons with disabilities who are homeless is higher than the number of people who are living in poverty (Homeless Children with Disabilities in America). People with disabilities have a difficult time finding a place to live, or a landlord who is willing to rent to them. According to the annual report on homelessness form the Department of Housing of Urban Development, the number of homeless people with disabilities is rising. The film “Streets of Paradise,” interviews a couple of homeless people with disabilities. Some of them are in wheelchairs or blind. They say they do not receive disability money. Perhaps the reason they turn to the streets is because they cannot help themselves.
Veterans face a lot of mental trauma when they are in combat that continues afterward. For example, they could be out in public and feel paranoid because they have flashbacks of certain events they had in the past. Those events scar them for life. Furthermore, the flashbacks can cause emotional problems. Today, twelve-percent of the homeless population is veterans (Veterans). A lot of the veterans come back to their home with bad health issues. Some do not have a home to return to and no job secured after they serve. Seventy-percent of veterans experience alcohol, drug or mental health problems (Veterans). Sometimes they do not have family or friends to rely on or the support they need from The Veterans Administration when they go back home (Veterans).Feeling lost and lonely make veterans turn to the streets for company.
Drug or alcohol abuse is both a cause and result of homelessness for some. “Between 2,829 and 3,112 of homeless in the San Diego region have substance abuse issues as a primary characteristic (Homelessness 76). For many homeless persons, alcohol or other drugs use provides and means to get through the day. “The abuse of such substance may sometimes begin after an individual has become homeless, due to the fact that the streets life subculture seems to have consumption of alcohol and other drugs as a norm” (Homelessness 77). Substance abuse for homeless gets them arrested or jailed. In the film “Streets of Paradise,” we see how those homeless people drink and smoke. They do that to ease their pain; well that is what they say. Some may have mental or physical pain that they feel the need of drug or alcohol to feel better. They probably want to forget the situation they are in as well. Some may have had family members who were drug or alcohol abusers and they ended up the same. Furthermore, alcoholism affects relationships with family and friends, who lead to loneliness and it, can go straight downhill from there.
Result and consequences of this problem do not only affect the homeless, it affects the whole community. Homeless sleep, eat, shower in public areas and leave their stuff behind that ends up looking like trash in the streets. They do not have a place to store their belongings and leave them in local parks or abandon buildings and that makes the streets of the city look dirty. Homeless people also stand in front of local businesses asking people for spear change or food. That disturbs residence and leaves them with other choices then to ever going back there again for service. Homelessness also affect young people because they make it seem as if it is okay to live on the street and live off other peoples money.
Homelessness has become a huge problem across the world. Many homeless people are disabled, veterans, and drug or alcohol abusers. The annual report on homeless from the Department of Housing of Urban Development said homeless people with disabilities are rising and twelve-percent of the homeless population is veterans. Disability is a big issue for homeless people because it is difficult for them to find a stable job to pay bills. Veterans return home with no support form anyone. Neither their family nor the Veterans Administration that make it hard for them to find a job and continue with their life. Finally, I myself have seen how homeless people abuse drugs and alcohol. The number of homeless people will increase even more if we do not find a way to help. So, let’s help homeless people get up on their feet and start a new life.