In simple words, a homeless person does not have a home. Technically, homelessness refers to a situation of a person, family, or community without any safe, stable, and permanent homes.
According to the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” CDC, people living on the streets are fifteen times more likely to become victims of violence. Homeless people are more prone to health conditions – both acute and chronic.
Homelessness is one of the most complicated social issues with a wide range of underlying social and economic factors, which include uncertain mental and physical health, lack of affordable housing, poverty, addictions, as well as family and community breakdown.
In today’s article, I will talk about homelessness in the U.S and the best cities to be homeless. I recommend you to read this article carefully so that you grasp all the essential or important information and get the most out of it. Read on!
Homelessness in America – Facts
You will be surprised to know that half a million people in the U.S are homeless. The recent report of the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development “HUD” stated that a person is homeless when he or she does not have a fixed or regular nighttime residence.
In the U.S, as of 2018, more than 550,000 people were declared homeless. Among them, over 190,000 people are living without any shelter – i.e. they live on the streets. In addition, around 350,000 people are sheltered, which means they reside in some form of temporary housing.
When it comes to the overall homeless population in the U.S, it is just 0.2% of the total population of the United States. Statistically, this means 17 people in every 10,000 population are homeless. This figure is pretty low when we compare it with the statistical data of the homeless population in other countries of the continent such as Mexico, Brazil, and others.
According to the report of HUD, the majority of homeless people in the U.S resides in the California State. Categorically, more than 45% of homeless people in the U.S are found in California. San Jose, Santa Rosa, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are the Californian cities with a large number of the homeless population. This is an alarming situation – of course.
A number of research studies show that the homeless population in the U.S suffer from both physical and mental health conditions. When we talk about the mental the prevalence of mental health conditions, over 100,000 people – i.e. more than 20% are suffering from several mental disorders.
Likewise, around 86,000 people – i.e. 16% of the total homeless population in the U.S suffer from chronic substance abuse and addiction-related disorders. So much so, 9% of the total homeless population in the U.S spend time in correctional facilities.
As per the report of HUD, homelessness is associated with a lack of connection to religious communities such as association to churches. Homelessness is also due to weak social ties. For instance, a homeless person usually has weak ties with family, friends, and religious communities.
Causes of Homelessness in America
Experts say that homelessness is a “cause and effect” social issue, which has severe repercussions on the country’s social and economic growth. It is associated with other issues that range from financial instability caused by underemployment or joblessness, chronic substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental health conditions.
Homelessness – in fact – is a set of situations, traumas, and poor choices made by an individual, which puts him or her in a dangerous situation. One of the significant causes of homeless people in the United States is poverty, which means that people are deprived or don’t have access to food, housing, education, healthcare, and other amenities.
Moreover, battered women living in poverty either choose to live a life full of abuse and domestic violence or homelessness. Domestic violence is common among people – especially women who are homeless. For many people, it is one of the fearsome causes of homelessness.
Many women who have survived a series of domestic violence episodes turn to homeless service programs – the purpose of which is to provide a temporary but safe place to stay after they have fled abusive relationships. The other reason for turning to a homeless service program is that such women do not have enough financial resources to maintain a house or place of living.
Poor mental health is probably the number one cause of homelessness in the U.S. People who suffer from mental health disorders are likewise more susceptible to personal vulnerability, disaffiliation, and poverty, which are the main factors that cause homelessness.
Since such people lack the ability or capacity to maintain jobs, they become bankrupt. They don’t have enough money to make a living. This causes strange and delusional thinking, which makes them go in isolation leaving their family, friends, and acquaintances behind.
Mental illness impairs the ability of a person to be resourceful and resilient – for instance, a homeless person has confused thoughts and poor judgment. He or she can’t make an informed decision.
The stress of being homeless can exacerbate previously occurring mental health conditions such as fear, depression, insomnia, addiction, and above all anxiety. The needs of homeless people with mental health conditions are similar to people without psychological disorders. This includes safety, healthcare, education, affordable housing, transportation, and other public amenities.
It is important to know that the government of the U.S can address this issue by establishing community-based health services that deal with mental illnesses. The government can drastically reduce homelessness in America if they provide supportive housing to homeless people.
We can talk about the causes of homelessness for hours. The basic idea behind the aforementioned information is to make you aware of homelessness in the U.S. In the next section, we are going to talk about the best cities to be homeless in America. Continue reading!
Best Cities to be Homeless in America
The State of California has more than 45% of homeless people of the total population. Almost all big cities in California are undergoing severe problems – the intensity of which is increasing every passing day. Some experts say it is due to a lack of adequate policies.
1. Key West, Florida
The first city on our list of the best cities for homeless people in Key West, Florida. This city has tropical weather all year long, which provides a pleasant outdoor living environment for people.
Previously, this city was among the most hostile places for homeless people. However, recently, the Florida government, non-profit organizations, and public advocacy have made things easy for homeless guests that arrive in the city from other regions of the U.S.
The Florida Outreach Coalition in this regard has played a key role in providing numerous services that help and support homeless people. This includes job-preparation, treatment and rehab centers for the homeless, as well as the provision of education and food via sophisticated programs.
In addition, the “Key West Veteran Housing Program” is about the provision of transitional housing to war veterans living a homeless life. This program provides supportive services to these people in order to stabilize them as well as prepare them to live an autonomous life. The purpose is to live the American Dream.
This program allows war veterans to stay for up to 6 months. This is a not-for-profit program that has achieved substantial outcomes in terms of providing housing support to war veterans.
The program offers a wide range of services, which include case management, training, education, employment, single-unit dwellings, utilities, on-site laundry facilities, mental health treatment, and rehab centers, exercise programs, and computer labs.
2. Austin, Texas
Weather in Austin, Texas is variable. There are four seasons in the year. It is important to know that the temperature in the winter season is adequate enough for homeless people to live on the streets.
In addition, a “Homeless Resource Center,” which is a specialized program by the government is useful in providing different services to people suffering from homelessness.
This, in particular, includes the provision of mental health rehab services and food services. Likewise, there are many non-for-profit organizations – for instance, Green Door that is making significant efforts to provide shelter homes to children living in Austin.
Austin Public Health (APH) provides funds to numerous social service providers and organizations. The primary aim is to end homelessness in Austin and serve the existing homeless population with outreach and navigation.
APH focuses on the provision of emergency shelter services, homelessness prevention by offering mental health rehab programs, emergency shelter services, supportive housing on a permanent basis, as well as rapid rehousing programs.
Austin Resource Center for the Homeless provides resources and shelter in the downtown area of the city. “Front Steps” is a popular social service organization that is currently funding and managing this program.
Not only does it offer emergency shelter to homeless people but as of 2019, the center has been taking care of over 100 homeless people. In collaboration with Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, there are other co-located agencies that offer a wide range of services to homeless people.
treatment, rehab centers to treat addicts, veteran services, and community care clinics in Austin. The National Alliance to End Homeless has partnered with APH and Front Steps to further advance the program to end homelessness in Austin and neighboring areas.
3. Berkeley, California
The climate in Berkeley, California is mild, which favors outdoor living for homeless people all year long. The city of Berkeley hosts some of the most prestigious universities and most of them are working voluntarily to address the issue of homelessness in California.
Despite the fact that California has the largest number of homeless people, there are many programs to help people. These programs are “Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency” and “Berkeley Food & Housing Project.”
Additionally, there are many not-for-profit organizations that serve homeless people in the city. For instance, BOSS Multi-Agency Service Center helps poor, homeless, and individuals with a disability. The purpose of this center is to equip people with healthcare services so that they are psychologically strong enough to overcome poverty and homelessness.
Berkeley Food & Housing Project, as mentioned above, is serving the homeless population for the last 5 decades. The mission of this project is to end homelessness in Berkeley and provide the suffering population with food, housing, mental health treatment, etc.
Besides these, there are dozens of other homeless programs and centers for helping homeless people. Most of these centers or organizations provide emergency shelter, short-term housing solutions, as well as a tranquil environment where homeless people could cope with mental health issues like addiction, depression, anxiety, stress, and alcoholism.
4. San Diego, California
San Diego provides a moderate environment, which is comfortable enough for homeless people to live outdoor. The city of San Diego offers a wide range of homeless programs, which are funded by the federal, state, and city governments.
All programs for homeless people focus on the distribution of free food, provision of temporary housing to the most deserved, mental health rehabilitation centers, as well as job training services.
There are many Interfaith Community Services – that work collaboratively to establish comprehensive programs to provide basic amenities to homeless people.
The community services are designed to help homeless people and providing them with social services, counseling, mental health treatment, temporary housing, and empowering them to get back on track to living the American Dream.
Some of the major programs in San Diego focus on the provision of basic needs such as food, shelters, housing, family, social, employment, senior citizen, youth, and veteran services
Rachel’s Women Center is a not-for-profit organization that addresses the issues of homeless women.
In this center, women who have suffered from domestic abuse are provided mental health therapies and other forms of counseling to relieve them from the traumatic aftereffects.
Rachel’s Women Center – unlike other organizations – focuses only on women and provide them with a safer, supportive, and serene environment where they could cope with their issues.
The center also provides a wide range of employment opportunities to those recovered from the distressing situations of the past and empower them to make self-help efforts.
5. Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington is another best city to be homeless for different reasons. Although the weather of this city is not that favorable for homeless people – since there is a lot of rain throughout the year, still, this city is included in our list.
First and foremost, the government is supporting the homeless people and have passed several legislation’s to help people for the last 2 decades. Research shows that despite the significant efforts to reduce homelessness, the number of homeless people is growing. The reason is that many homeless people from other parts of the country move to this city.
Secondly, there are many NGOs and social work organizations that provide state-of-the-art services to these people. They are helping homeless people with shelters, housing assistance, legal referrals, rental assistance, food, transportation, rehabilitation centers, etc.
One of the most popular care centers in Seattle is “Crisis Clinic,” which provides mental health treatment and therapy programs to homeless people – especially women who have been the victims of domestic abuse and rapes.
Housing & Essential Needs (HEN) is another government-funded program that provides temporary housing facilities, shelter homes, and other amenities to homeless people.
The primary focus on people with disabilities. Not only does this program assist with utility and rental services, but it also provides the cleaning and hygiene supplies, transportation needs, healthcare facilities, etc.
Moreover, another best program known as the “Urban Rest Stop” is useful in providing a safe shelter home facility for homeless families.
The mission of this organization is to bring out people from the catastrophic effects of homelessness, which have affected the minds of these people.
So much so, they provide a welcoming and comfortable restrooms, shower facilities, laundry, a health clinic, and the physical exercise facility or gym.
Furthermore, the “Health Care for the Homeless Network” (HCHN) is considered the best health care program for homeless people residing in King Country. The program employs experts, professionals, and healthcare personnel to treat people with different ailments. HCHN aims to end poverty, food deprivation, and health issues.
Homelessness in America is an issue of concern. There are over 10 million homeless people in America. While this figure is low when we compare it with the total American population, yet, this is an alarming situation for the federal, state, and city governments. Well, the statistical figure of 0.2% is projected to grow by up to 0.5% by 2025.
In this sense, it is important that the government makes substantial reforms and passed bills to address the issue. As mentioned above, there is no city in the U.S that does not have services for the homeless population but still, there is a lack of resources to completely diminish the issue of homeless in America.
In today’s article, we have told you about the best cities to be homeless in the U.S. If you are a homeless person and reading post (by chance), we advise you to make some effort and contact the rehab centers, temporary housing programs, shelter homes, and other organizations to seek help.
Lastly, it is the duty of every American to help deprived individuals and families on a humanitarian basis so that they can live the American dream too. God help us all!