Homelessness and the harmful effects on society
|No place to call home
Homelessness means not having a home or place of residence. The reasons for homelessness occurs and has become problematic in America today vary on an individual basis. I discovered the three common reasons for homelessness which are poverty, substance abuse, and mental illness.
First of all, poverty is one of the biggest factors causing homelessness. Poverty is simply known for being poor. When an able-bodied citizen works from paycheck to paycheck to support his or her family, the rent and monthly bills become overwhelming. Upon being laid-off they have nothing to count on as far as income is concerned. It is at this point to choose their priorities, such as transportation, childcare, food or housing. Many homeless are usually employed, but the wages are not enough to cover the monthly bills. These individuals were not found to have good wages nor any type of job security. Unemployment is another reason for people losing their homes and is then forced to look for shelter and become homeless.
Another cause of homelessness is substance abuse which has become an increasing epidemic in today’s society. Drug use is prevalent among homeless populations, which most of them spend half their income on drugs and alcohol. These drug users are associated to gain income illegally from various sources such as welfare, panhandling, disability, side jobs and criminal activities for immediate instant gratification within the homeless population. Substance abuse is a major benefactor for the causes of homelessness.
Another factor that relates to homelessness is mental illness. The mentally ill homeless appear to have a "double dose" of disadvantage: poverty with an addition of childhood family instability and violence. (Sullivan and Burnam, A.) Among the individuals that are mentally ill,l there are different underlying factors causing homelessness. For the most part, I would like to focus on the causes of mental illness. There are distinctive patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior that begin gradually and become worse over time. Taking note of subtle hints of underlying mental illness can be observed by others. When a person experiences drastic changes in their self-worth, and personal identity these are signs of mental illness. Furthermore, gradual changes in personality are normal but as an individual cannot cope or adjust to daily life patterns, they start to lose a sense of self. These warning signs indicated danger and should seek professional assistance as soon as possible. When a person suffers a total mental breakdown without any medical or psychological assistance then they are at high risk of becoming homeless. They become unable to comprehend the basic necessities in life and end up homeless. They detach themselves from reality and all the repercussions begin in a downward spiral leading to homelessness. As an adult, the families cannot recommend these individuals to be placed in a behavioral or mental health institution unless they are a danger to themselves or others. Consequently, living on the streets or park benches become part of their normal lifestyle.
In conclusion, The three factors of poverty, substance abuse, and mental illness are major causes of homelessness. Therefore, many families struggle to get proper healthcare, food, and shelter with a decline in public assistance. Homelessness plays a major role in these individuals lives. Furthermore, a person who abuses substances and alcohol should seek help in a rehabilitation center, where they are taught how to become a productive member of society. They learn how to live life on life’s terms. Rehabilitation centers should not allow the recovered addict to leave the facility until they can gain full-time employment and find low-income transitional housing first. Additionally, the mentally ill must seek similar assistance in a rehab setting with 24 hours medical and psychological care. They must be evaluated by a psychologist, prescribed and administered medication if needed and be counseled. The should incorporate extracurricular activities in a social environment with other mentally ill patients as well.
The government and society need to work together to help these indigent and medically ill individuals seek a new life of hope and optimism with resources to demolish homelessness altogether.