Olivia ReedMrs. TilleryAP Literature and CompositionNovember 14, 2011 The Homeless Homelessness infects many people in our world every day. People can become homelessfrom different reasons, but in the market today the reason is usually foreclosure. There are manyways that we can prevent people being homeless. By learning how people live when theirhomeless, we can see fit that they get help. There are more homeless people today than thereever has been because of our current economic situation. Being homeless can lead to manyhealth problems because of their lack of sanitation and resources. Homelessness can be caused by multiple factors. In the homeless society, “poor peopleare frequently unable to pay for housing, food, childcare, health care, and education.” Whenpeople are less fortunate, they have to make difficult decisions about what their families need tosurvive. Some families give up things that we think of as necessity, like a cell phone for anexample. There are people in America that have never had a cell phone of their own. Lack ofaffordable housing is another cause of people around the world being homeless(TheHomeless.com). Having somewhere to live is one of the main things people need to live. Ithelps protect one from inclement weather, diseases, and predators. Without proper housing, thereare many more risks that people could face. Homelessness is one-hundred percent preventable. Through Churches, schools, and otherpublic places, people can donate enough money to the homeless so they will have at least somefood to eat and somewhere to stay. Also, people can volunteer for a day or two in soup kitchens.
It is a win-win situation for all volunteers. For one, they can help a starving child or a family inneed. Secondly, for all students, collages look for a student that is valiant within theircommunity. Also, the volunteer gets the “warm-fuzzy feeling” that someone gets wheneversomeone volunteers. We can also help the homeless by “Providing rural homeless families withtemporary shelter and rental assistance funds, because rural homeless are often homeless for onlyshort periods of time”. Being helpful around the community could potentially rid the world ofthis awful situation. When people are homeless, they will do anything to survive. They will collect trash orbottle caps, beg people for money, or go to a shelter. Homeless people survive on the completegenerosity of strangers. They also rely on other homeless people to help them through the reallyhard times. “What we may see as trash or garbage they see a shelter or a meal or a warm coat.What we may view as a necessity they deem to be unnecessary. They form families amongthemselves. They watch out for one another. They will share among each other if they have”.The homeless have a completely different mentality of life than people who have a place to comehome to every night. They have to worry about how they are going to keep their children safe oreven what they are going to eat every day. People who are happily at home with their familydon’t necessarily have to worry about the dangers of the outside world like someone whoactually lives in it like a homeless person would. A person who has a home is thinking aboutwhat they are going to wear to the mall tomorrow, or new songs on their music player. That iswhy helping and preventing homelessness is so important to our country. The current state of our economy has increased the homeless population. People arehomeless because of job cuts for an example. They have no money to pay bills and get food fortheir family. When it comes down to providing for the family, bills often go to the bottom of the
list compared to food, water and shelter. Because of the recession, the numbers of families thathave been seen in shelters in the past few years have increased by twenty-six percent. That istwenty-six more families that are on the streets. That is twenty-six more families with childrenthat are starving and freezing. In addition to making families homeless, the current economicstate is making times for the already homeless population even more difficult. Because peopleare so short on cash, people are not giving to the homeless as much as they would at the peak ofthe business cycle. Also, workers try to work more often for more hours, so volunteers arescarce. In America, as well as other countries where the economy is in a slump, the needs of thehomeless population are growing. Being homeless can associate with certain health problems. Because of the lack ofsanitation, or anything clean, diseases are attained and spread more easily. Because it is hard tofind a clean place to wash your hands on the streets, “Several skin conditions, both infectious andnoninfectious, have been described in the homeless population including tinea infections, legulcers, stasis dermatitis, immersion foot, frostbite, erythromelalgia, pellagra, scurvy, scabies,pediculosis, seborrheic dermatitis, eczematous dermatitis, rosacea, and pruritus”. There are freeclinics that can help with these infections, but they are usually not that noticeable to the person orthey choose to not get help. The disease depends on living conditions, geographic region, andaccess to healthcare. Living as a homeless person could take a toll on a person’s mental state.Compared to the rest of the population, “people with mental illnesses are much more likely tobecome homeless.” Twenty to twenty-five percent of the population of homeless people suffersfrom a serious mental illness. Some mentally handicapped people can not take care ofthemselves so they end up in homeless shelters. Being in a bad mental state can also affect one’sphysical health, especially “when combined with inadequate hygiene due to homelessness, it
may lead to physical problems such as respiratory infections, skin diseases, or exposure totuberculosis or HIV.” So, if we give some sanitation to the homeless, the spread of disease andinfection would highly decrease. Because of declined mental and physical health, it makesgetting jobs and getting out of the streets an even more complicated task to manage. Society often thinks of the average homeless person as being a “drug addict” or an“alcoholic”. But, in a lot of cases this is not true; they are just trying to find some way to surviveanother day without the basic necessities of life. But, sometimes the homeless turn to drugs analcohol as an escape from reality. Instead of saying that they are “abusing” drugs, people shouldtake it as an illness, and help them out instead of judging them. Most homeless people who havea substance problem are homeless because of it. A recent count says that “estimates, 38% ofhomeless people were dependent on alcohol and 26% abused other drugs. Alcohol abuse is morecommon in older generations, while drug abuse is more common in homeless youth and youngadults.” People have substance abuse issues are just trying to make their lives easier by notthinking about anything else but getting a high or getting a buzz off of an alcoholic beverage.Either way, these people need some help. Counseling and rehab would be most beneficial forthese people, and it may help them get back on their feet and get a job, a home, and their lifeback. In the news, you always hear about kids running away from home, or wives leaving theirhusbands because of domestic violence. Sometimes, those people do not have another place to goand end up living on the streets. In fact, “100% of women have experienced domestic or sexualviolence at some point in their lives. Some survivors and their families become homeless whenthey flee abuse.” There are many women’s centers around the country that help women andchildren with this exact problem. They house them until they can find a job and a house. The
centers can only accomplish their goals by people donating to them. But, the economic recessionhas affected them greatly as well, because they are not able to help as many women and childrenget off of the corners. The NLCHP is an organization that understands the connections betweenhomelessness, housing, and violence against women in order to identify solutions tohomelessness for survivors and their families. NLCHP works as the legal arm of the movementto prevent and end homelessness in the U.S., including by working explicitly to improve accessto housing for survivors of violence against women and their families.” If women havesomewhere to run to if something tragic happens in their life, there would not be so much abusein our society today. Crime and homelessness often correlate when homelessness is high. It is a “dog eat dog”world, and if someone has what someone else wants, that person will do whatever it takes to getit. In some areas, “kids and the homeless people are also over-represented as victims of sexualand physical assault, theft, robbery, and domestic violence. As with law enforcement incommunities around the Country, the Police Bureau continues to explore ways to match peoplewith services designed to help end the cycle of homelessness, while at the same time enforcelaws when appropriate.” There are many laws set in place to protect not only people with homesand jobs, but also the homeless. So, if there are higher rates of crime, there is usually a higherhomeless population. In conclusion, the homeless population is one that can definitely be helped. If morepeople volunteer, the lower the population will be. But, the economy is affecting everyoneworse. But, regardless, everyone should help out the homeless, because one day, that homelessperson may in fact be you, a family member, or a friend.