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Homelessness in the United States

Essay by   •  December 1, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,170 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,641 Views

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When you think of a homeless person, what comes to mind; bum, drunk, drug addict or lazy people not willing to work? This is not the case in many instances. People who experience homelessness are a diverse group of people with a variety of factors contributing to their homelessness. The destruction of the recession, including an increase in foreclosures and unemployment, has driven thousands of families onto the streets. In 2005 when hurricane Katrina wiped out New Orleans, it almost doubled the national ranks. "We saw a 34 percent increase in families and a 24 percent increase in homeless children last year alone." (2009) One city has given hope back to the homeless community by given them a place to call home. Can we together change the way the average American looks at a homeless person?

"Last year, we saw a 34 percent increase in homeless families and a 24 percent increase in children." (2009) The Urban Institute estimates in between 444,000 and 842,000 to be homeless at one point or the other. Although the number of homeless individuals remained relatively stable, the number of homeless families rose. "The typical homeless person has changed to become less focused on the chronically homeless or single individual homeless to somebody who is part of a family, whether it be a mother or a father or a child in a homeless family" (2009) According to the Washington Post, women make up 81 percent of adults in a homeless family. Unlike homeless men, who are usually middle aged, homeless women tend to younger than 25 with children younger than 5 years old. The average homeless person is not a man or a veteran anymore, more and more are homeless families.

Even during harsh economic times there are those who still believe that the homeless are homeless because they refuse to seek help. People often mistakenly believe that there is an abundance of resources available for the homeless. Unfortunately, there is not an abundant amount of resources to help the homeless rebuild their lives. I hear it all too often, "get a job", "quit drinking", and "druggie". This is not the case though in a lot of circumstances. We as Americans should try to help the homeless instead of name calling and judging. There is shelters and soup kitchens that house and feed the homeless but not for long periods of time. It is a temporary fix for the homeless. It does not help them rebuild themselves in any way. It gets them off the street for the night and that is pretty much it. Shelters typically expect the homeless to exit in the mornings and they may return in the evening for a meal and a place to stay. They do not give them any structure or self-support to help them rebuild their lives.

Causes of homelessness are so widely stretched; we never know what the situation is. Many women are homeless due to an abusive situation. To escape the attacker they leave and in some cases it results in their homelessness. Another uncontrollable cause of homelessness is natural disasters. Hurricane Katrina is a prime example of this. When this hurricane hit, it wiped out the entire city of New Orleans. This left hundreds of thousands of people without a place to live or a job to support them. As a result of the recession and foreclosures, the rate has increased the homeless population about 25 percent. There are many underlying factors for so many to be homeless, so many of our fellow Americans cannot shake the burdens that has been thrown at them and have no choice but to remain homeless. Homelessness often results from circumstances beyond an individual's control rather

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