America’s Homelessness Epidemic

America Homelessness Epidemic

Ever wonder “How People Become Homeless?”” Image losing your stability and even your home at the drop of a hat. Image one, solitary catastrophic event taking place – do you have a healthy emergency fund in your savings or insurance to cover it? What if you lose you job, or fall behind on your mortgage or rent, or your spouse leaves you, or there’s a fire or natural disaster.

But how do people go from stability to homelessness so suddenly? As it happens, there are multitude of reasons for homelessness. The potential catastrophic that result in homelessness are endless and many people don’t even realize their own lack of stability and security until, due to unforeseen spiraling circumstances, it is suddenly snatched away.

Without natural family support or friends willing to helpto take you in, what would you do?

How Do People Become Homeless?

Homelessness means so much more than a person who lives on the streets or those who don’t have a roof over their heads. To be homeless essentially means that one doesn’t have a stable, long term residence or income and can include couch surfers or those living in motels or hostels.

The financial and professional range of people who find themselves homeless is as varied as the ways in which people themselves homeless, and these include but are not limited to:

  • Poverty
  • Job Loss
  • Lack of Affordable Housing
  • Lack of Natural or Social Supports
  • Mental Health Issues

Homelessness Explained:

Homelessness is a chronic condition…not a temporary condition. It has become a way of life for people who have no choice,” says Dr. Ng Kok Hoe, a Lee Kuan School of Public Policy assistant professor who took part in the production of a street survey in Singapore, in which a group of volunteers fanned out for an evening and took a count of all those whoo consider themselves homeless.

Such surveys have been connected throughout America as well. In the Singapore edition, in which 25 people where chosen as part of the survey basted on information provided by social services, about 180 people claim to be homeless in one evening.

And it’s not surprising – we see them all the time, be it during the day or our morning commute, or after hours, as we head home after happy hour, noting and feigning concern for the city’s homeless problem.

But there is a lot more to the situation than we see, day to day

What It’s Like To Be Homeless:

The “Business Insider” followed a young homeless man in central Brooklyn to learn more about the homeless epidemic in the US. Moustafa, a 48 year-old mechanic who, until 2014, owned a mechanic shop for about 20 years, is now homeless, after not being able to keep up with his rent, now lives out of his vi chicle and works as a mechanic when he can.

As human nature allows, the unfortunate folks living in Moustafa’s area, which was a garage , added homey touches such as gardens, and earn what money they can during the seasonal months. The off seasons are somewhat less profitable, Mousstafa says.

Why not live in a shelter, people ask? Moustafa tried that but, again as human nature dictates, he needed his own space to breathe. And who among us can blame him.

This is not an uncommon story in America, what with the current conundrum of the economic state – if it thrives, the homeless population grows. If it fails, the homeless population grows.

“Even though the economy has never beenn stronger, inequality {is} growing at alarming rates and the benefits from a {growing} economy is increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, says Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon. “We have increasing disparity all across the United States, and that’s definitely impacting people.”

Portland alone is not affected, as we well know. Seasonable warm climates draw people in but their high housing costs and living expenses leave people making their way by living and working on the streets, instead. Nationwide the number of homeless people sleeping on the street in America on a given night is 550,000 give or take a few.

This is an epidemic yes but it’s one that’s been foreseen for years upon years.

Government cuts have continued in all areas that might improve housing costs and social programs for the homeless population. Ironically, the federal government’s claim is that affordable housing should cost no more than 30% of a minimum wage employee’s income, and yet more than an estimated 5 million households in America either pay more than half of their monthly income, or worst, they live in squalor.

Government spending on affordable housing has improved slightly in recent years, but the economy take its toll. And as the economy continues to affect our homeless population, how does this affect the public opinion of the homelessness issue?

The Homelessness Stereotype:

There are many myths about our homeless population: That they are vagrants,hobos, addicts, crazy, and the list goes on.

They did it to themselves people say. Don’t give them money. They will only buy booze, they say. The growing population in the United States really have a bad reputation as a group of never do wells, many of whom are homeless by choice. Truthfully, homelessness can happen to anyone. Circumstance can change your financial your situation at the drop of a hat, and despite the stereotype, not all homeless people are drug addicts, alcoholics or crazy.

And as for choosing that life for themselves – there are only a small percentage who prefer living off the grid. The rest, however, are just trying to get by.

Is Feeding The Homeless A Crime:

It depends on which state that you live in. In Houston, Texas you cannot share food with more than 5 homeless people at a time. But in Orlando, Florida feeding or sharing food with the homeless is no longer a crime. No matter what size of the group is.

A History of Homelessness:

Homelessness has been an issue since the 1870’s, but truly took America by storm during the Great Depression. In that era, during which two million people where homeless in the U.S, affordable housing and social support were few and far between. Following that, the De-institutionalization of mentally illness citizens in the 1960’s exacerbated the homeless population as well, and following that, a few economic down turns.

The 1980’s proved to rough for the homeless population as there were cuts in social services, and in general, there was more job loss and overall unemployment during that decade. In short, it left its mark on society and the economy., Following this lengthy, detrimental point in history, social services never really recovered, and to this day, social services falls shy of the growing need for direct support for the homeless in America.

The real issue with homelessness, however, has always been discrepancy between income and affordable housing. Becoming homeless is not like catching a common cold — it is a much more complex creature.

2018 Stat:

552,830 people experienced homelessness in a given night in the U.S according to the 2018 point in time report. It represents 17 people for every 10,000 people in America.

Getting Back On Your Feet:

While shelters and social programs do provide you with a roof over your head and regular meals, they are not a guarantee and by no means are they permanent. It’s generally preferred to find a stable situation and that generally doesn’t involve a shelter.

While you are without a permanent home, accessing social services may be a bit tougher, however it’s vital that you do. Once you have found safe, temporary housing or have regular access to a shelter and food, it’s important to start looking for affordable loow income housing right away.

Housing can mean many things. Public housing may be a good starting point, as it is based on your cross annual income. Alternately, housing vouchers are an option, in which the government pays a portion of your rent and you pay the remainder.

Once you have secured a rental property, you can also find help paying rent and thereby preventing youu from becoming homeless in the future.

If you are newly homeless or concerned about becoming homeless in the next few days or weeks, links and information in this article can assist you — help is available. This guide can also provide you with many resources and directories that can keep you safe and comfortable as possible during this difficult time. And as a gentle reminder: homelessness does not have to be a chronic condition, and it doesn’t define you. With the right support you can dig your way out of the pit and find security.






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