Our Nation of Homelessness

Topics: Homelessness, Human rights, Homelessness in the United States Pages: 9 (1833 words) Published: May 26, 2014


Our Nation of Homelessness Amanda Turley
SOC 331 Social Justice & Ethics
Instructor: Emily Archer
April 28,2014

Homelessness is something that is happening to many people all around the world. Now when it comes to the United States, homelessness is not a phenomenon, and contrary to popular belief, the problem did not arise in the past few decades with the closer of mental hospitals, the influx of Vietnam veterans, or even the deep cuts into federal housing assistance. Homelessness in America is as old as the country itself, and the responses to the problem have not varied much since the beginning until here recently.

There are many different reasons why someone may become homeless. There are Nemours national, states and local reports repeatedly indicate that there is not one single cause to homelessness (Causes of Homelessness. (2011, January 1). With that being said I do disagree because however if a person does not have the financial ability to pay rent for a place than they are not going to have a roof over their head. I live in Hillsborough County, Florida and there was a survey done during the 2011 homeless count, the homeless people were given a list of many different options on why the reason they were homeless. The number one reason was due to employment and/or financial reason; that was 49.38 percent (Causes of Homelessness. (2011, January 1). 

When a person becomes homeless they also become criminalized against. There are many different cities here in the United States that has laws and prohibition when it comes to the homeless people and their acts. The homeless people here in America have been criminalized against for many many decades. While reading an article naked “Out of sight- Out of mind”, they had a group of people complete a survey on 50 of the largest cities in the United States. The information that they found was that out of 50 cities 83 percent of them had some type of laws and prohibition against begging, and as well 73 percent prohibited or restricted sleeping and or camping (Outlawing/Criminalizing Homelessness). It has also been a proven that the homeless contributes to the risk for incarceration, and also incarceration contributes to a higher risk of homelessness (CriminalJustice2011).

When it comes to the high cost of living and along with the combat ion of low wage jobs, and high unemployment rates only exacerbates these problems and then forces Americans to choose between shelter, food, and other expenses that may be a necessity. According to the Hunger and Homeless, in the United States more than 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year; 35 percent of the homeless population are families that have children; 23 percent are the military veterans; 25 percent of the population are people under the age of 18; 30 percent have experienced some type of domestic abuse and have nowhere to turn but the streets; and then 20 –25 percent are people who have a type of mental disorder (Homelessness In America).

Being homeless is very hard. Not only does it wear a person down physically but also mentally. When individuals are homeless they do not go to the doctor as often as they should. As well they lack access to health care treatment. People that are without a home have higher rates of hospitalizations for physical illness and substance abuse than others. In a study that was done 47 percent of homeless woman meet the criteria for a diagnosis of major \depressive disorder (Buckner, Beardslee, & Bassuk, 2004). The President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (2003) made clear the need to address the public mental health system’s delivery of service to people without homes and with mental illness. This population is more likely to use hospitals than regular outpatient care (North & Smith, 1993), which is not only more expensive but results in fragmented service and less attention, paid...
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