In the midst of the busy streets of America, somewhere in less crowded places. Many people with their tents can be found sleeping at the side of the streets. Unfortunate these people are not camping. No matter if the weather is cold, no matter if it raining, and no matter if the street is cover by snows, they will still stay on the street. Because the street is their home and the tents they use are their bed. These people are homeless. However, and sadly, there is a cause and effect for everything.
Homelessness is a major social problem in America. The January 2017 Point-in-Time count, the most recent national estimate of homelessness in the United State, identified 5553,741 people experiencing homelessness. A total of 193,000 of those people were “unsheltered,” meaning that they were living on the streets and had no access to shelter, transitional housing, or safe havens. In this paper, I argue that the three major causes of homelessness in the United States are unemployment, affordable housing, and domestic violence. I will also present the causes, consequences and policy solutions to address the Homelessness problem in the United State.
Domestic Violenece is one of the many leading causes of homelessness. The connection between domestic violence and homelessness is undeniable. According to the homeless hub estimation, 237 out of 100,000 people are victims of family violence that could lead individuals to run away from home and live in the streets with no support. Women are the major victims of such case. These women are forced to choose between an abusive relationship or lack of a home. Major of them chose homelessly. Another statistics show the connection homelessness had with domestic violence. In Minnesota, a statistic reports stated that 46 percent of homeless women had abusive relationships. And in Fargo North Dakota, 44% of homeless women reported that they had been in an abusive relationship at some point in their life. Approximately 50% of all women who are homeless in the united state report that domestic violence was the immediate cause of their homelessness. Major of homeless women choose to flee from domestic abuse, and they are often forced to live in the street because they had had nowhere else to go.
My observations at Poverello house support these statistics, It came to my notice that there were many homeless women who had no husbands with them. I was wiping forks in a room where Poverello house allow homeless to stay and watch some T.V. Around 3 o’clock, I looked around the room and notice that there were many homeless women in the room, and they came to Poverello house alone. They were sitting alone with no one else with them.The men around them do not seem to be their husband. They seem to be alone. This implies that these homeless women are single and live alone.
Unemployment is another leading cause of homelessness. Job stability and job security have reduced and in turn, unemployment increase. Began in December 2007, the economy lost six million jobs. In 2009, reports had also shown that the unemployment rate increased from 8.9% to 9.5 % and by what the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate, this increase of unemployment added over three-quarters of a million worker with no jobs. The workforce dropped from 155.1 million in May to 154.9 million in June. In March 2009, the unemployment rate is 15.8%, higher than the 2009 9.4% unemployment rate. This convert that there is 24.4 million people who had no jobs. 1 out of six American workers is unemployed. With no jobs, it would mean there no wage, and no wage means no money to support the livelihood of many American.
Those without jobs often find themselves homeless. Because jobs allow a person to live in a stable life in America. Within the United State, everything is run by money. The food you eat, the clothes you wear, the house you have, and the material thing in your life depend on your jobs. And those without a job had no access to these types of things. Those without a jobs end up homeless. They had nowhere to go and can only live in the street or in a shelter home because they had no jobs that can earn money to buy things they need in life. During my volunteer time, I can see that the people who came to Poverello house are those who live by the street near the Poverello house. Every time I drove up to Poverello house, there are small tents lining up in a row by the street. Those who live there always walk to Poverello house to eat. They had no money to buy food and their choice was to go hungry or go to Poverello house to get foods.
The last leading cause of homelessness is housing. In order to live in a good place that is safe, affordable, and stable. People had to pay a lot of money to buy the house they want. Research by UCLA found that there is a correlation between the high cost of housing and homelessness rate. The research paper stated that California house mortgages are 47% higher than the national average. And those who earn less than the state median income is hurt by the increase of price housing. Over half of the state’s renters pay 30 percent or more of their income toward housing. More than 25 percent of renters are severely cost burdened, paying 50 percent or more of their income in rent. This clearly shows why housing is one of the factors that cause homelessness in the united state. People who can not afford the place they want to live had no choice but to go somewhere else. And if they could not afford to live in a house or an apartment, the only choice they had are the street.
The consequences of homelessness are very large. Because homelessness can make a big impact on the communities, health care, Financial cost, environmental impact and the health of the homeless. Homelessness often had negative impact on the communities. In one of the studies of the experience of homeless people with complex problems, there is a 53% chance that homeless could be involved in street drinking, and 10% chance that homeless could be involved in prostitution, and 32% chance that homeless could beg. All of these chance can make a bad impact on the communities as a whole because the homeless are also part of the communities we live in.
Health care is also one of the factor that was affected by homelessness. For example, when homeless people are admitted to a hospital, they stay there for about three to four day than normal, these types of stay can add up $2,400 per incidents to the public cost. If these types of case continue, the fund that was use for health care will decrease. Not only that, base on Downtown streets team, 53% health care costs spending funds is use for homeless people. This facts alone show how expensive homelessness was in the United State.
Homelessness made a big impact in financial cost. Base on the first housing program name Care Coordination project, datas shown that because of this homeless housing project, taxpayer had to pay an average of $62,473 for homeless users of the system. Where the normal cost of a average post housing cost is a average of $19,767, which result annual cost reduction of $42,706 for those who remained housed. Santa clara county lost $529 million a year because about $83,000 is use for one homeless. Adding the cost of individual homeless cost a large amount of money spend on the homeless. This large amount to rise money.
Homelessness not only affect financial cost, Homelessness also affect the environmental to. The trash and human waste cause by the homeless had pollute waterway and the public city spaces. Human waste was created because there were limited public restroom for the homeless to use. Store and businesses had not allow the homeless to have accesses to their restroom which caused the homeless to restore to release outside. In 2014, Santa Clara water district report that the city of jose had spented about $275,542 in 2013 to removed the debris cause by the homeless along the rivers and creeks. Not only that, the report also stated that in 2014, the city had to remove 600 tons of trash and 1,500 pounds of human waste. . So many trash and human waste create by the homeless in just one year. This fact alone show how much homelessness had made a lot of negative impact on the environment. We really can not blame the homeless, what they done is cause by desperate need.
However as much as homeless damage the environment, the outside environment where they live also affect their health. Living outside on the street without a home had cause their health to become poorer than normal people. The common health problems among the homeless is wound/skin infection, Mental health problems, Substance abuse problems, Bronchitis and pneumonia, and Problems caused by being outdoors. Homeless also have a higher risk of diseases such as extremities and skin disorders. All of these types of health problems can lead to the homeless to lost their life. Because for example, pneumonia, an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. Pneumonia may sound like it is not a serve diseases if the patient get treated, but the thing is that pneumonia can lead to respiratory failure. And respiratory failure is a syndrome in which the respiratory system fail in the gas exchange function that can lead to death.
There had been many policy solutions to address the Homelessness problem in the United State. But here are some of the policy which I think can solve the homelessness problems.
Affordable Housing had been one of the leading cause of homelessness, and in order to address this issue, four programs was created to reduce the prices of house, so that people could afford to buy house. The fours programs is name Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, Project-Based Rental Assistance, Public Housing Operating Funds, and Public Housing Capital Grants. Report had show that together, these programs had provide affordable rental housing for more than 5 million people in 2.2 million household.