Homelessness in the United States: Historical Overview, Causes, Impacts, and Future Considerations (Essay Sample)


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The socioeconomic phenomenon chosen for this assignment is homelessness. Fundamentally, homelessness refers to a condition where people do not have permanent residence or apartment. This phenomenon is mostly attributed to people not having enough finances to obtain and keep a regular, safe and appropriate accommodation. In some situation, homelessness has been used to include the people who spend the night time in the homeless refuge, vehicle and shanty city structures. As such, homelessness is a complex social problem with a variety of underlying economic and social factors such as the poverty, lack of affordable housing, uncertain physical and mental health, community and family breakdown and addictions.

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History of Homelessness

Homelessness throughout the world is not a recent phenomenon. Ideally, there is a history of homelessness throughout the U.S history, for instance. The weak English laws and Elizabethan attitudes guided how communities responded to individuals in need of those without homes. Notably, the strict settlement determined the people who were allowed to join the community and who were forced to move on.

Ideally, the first documented cases of homelessness can be traced back to 1640s where the European settlers were involved in the displacement of the Native Americans, resulting in conflicts on the frontier. This led to the rise in the homelessness among the Native Americans and Europeans. Historians further believe that the economic downturns that occurred in 18s0s and 1850s contributed to the massive loss of jobs and homes. An estimated 10,000 Americans were already homeless by 1830s and included people who lived in police stations by night and in streets during the day. Another phenomenon, youth homelessness, emerged around the 1850s when the adolescent boys left home to look for employment in the cities. Majority of those who did so ended up being homeless.

It is undeniably to mention that the human population has been increasing in the United States of America in the past few decades. This fast increase in population growth has pushed humans to limit the available resources. Housing facilities have not been left behind. As a basic human need, only the rich have been able to get comfortable homes, yet the poor have been driven beyond the limit by the economy to the extent of having no place to call home.

Causes of Homelessness

Homelessness is primarily contributed by the low or inadequate supply of housing facilities to the low and middle-income earners. This situation leaves a low and or a middle-income earner with a battle of what to prioritize between food, clothing and housing. Ideally, an individual is incapable of renting a house or construct their own at the expense of little or no food at all. In this sense, therefore, they are left with the only option, which is to let go of the construction or renting the house. They would rather stay in the cold in a full stomach than rent an apartment with nothing left to buy food.

There is still a significant increase in the phenomenon of homelessness and its general perception. The rise of the incidents such as unemployment and job loss among the Americans have contributed to the continued incidences of homelessness. While many researchers have reported that homelessness is on the decrease because of the governments support through the Department of Social Services, this is not the case.

This is because the homeless youths become homeless parents parenting homeless children, thus overstretching the city corridors and verandas. They also ran out of food and thus became hostile to their fellows, forcing them to quite.

When it rains, they are rained on, when the sun shines, it scorches their skins and shiver when the wind blows. A few have been through this for a day or two in a lifetime. These homeless populations go through this daily. This does not leave them healthy, in return to counter all that, and they resort to drug abuse and hostility. Most of them will say that drugs help them to stop a lot of worries. With time they become addicts.

Impacts of Homelessness on the Society

Homelessness has tremendously impacted American society from different dimensions. Particularly, studies have shown that homelessness has affected homeless individuals more negatively. Individuals indeed face a multitude of health-related concerns to the extra-ordinary. Local conditions will dictate the nature and extent of these issues. However, it is crucial to have a better understanding of the homeless community within a given area face.

Generally, at a fundamental level, homelessness has caused premature mortality compared to those who are appropriately housed, with injuries, and unintentional overdose and extreme weather events being critical contributors’ drivers of this mortality. The homeless have a poor quality of life because they suffer chronic pain associated with poor sleeping conditions and limited access to medical services and other salutary resources. They have also been shown to suffer from various skin ailments due to the effects caused by cold weather conditions.

The problem of homeless has been reported to have a significant impact on the government budget and financial systems. One fact that has been established by recent research is that a considerable proportion of the homeless people are the undocumented immigrants, who find it difficult to get jobs and end up leading impoverished lives. Besides, the majority of people who experience job loss and a long period of unemployment may end up being homeless. As a result, the government ends up using a massive amount of financial resources to provide social support services to the victims as part of the federal government's initiative. Such expenses also exert huge pressure on the taxpayers, who end up being subjected to high taxation.

Future Impacts of Homelessness

The problem of homelessness in the United States is on the rise. Even though the government has played a critical role in ensuring that it is solved, more and more people are still finding themselves in this challenge. The continued persistence of homelessness will lead to an increase the number of population of individuals living in streets, thereby giving rise to a well-defined system of street communities and families.

By this, it implies that homelessness will lead to the establishment of the permanent settlements within the streets and another unrestricted scheme. This is likely to cause the rise of shanties or informal settlements and slums, which may not be able to give the United States its true reflection as a developed country. The department of housing may also end up incurring vast amounts of money to construct new houses to house homeless individuals and street families.

Homelessness is also likely to cause immigration and refugee problems in other neighbouring nations. The continued rise in the street population will possibly make the affected people immigrate to other places they view habitable in terms of providing them with adequate food and shelter. This may lead to the problem of refugees, which is also still dangerous in terms of exacerbating various social issues.

Homelessness is a threat to the lives of our people. To reduce homeless population, the government will be forced to go the extra mile by providing affordable housing facilities, schools and reclaim the vast arid and semi-arid land in the United States and absorb this population to practice Agriculture.

Through this, other industries will be created, and homelessness and joblessness will be history. The government has a vital role to play to fill this gap. This should be guided with our beliefs and the constitutional depiction that every human being deserves the right to better living. The step that should be taken to settle the problem of homeliness is the provision of jobs to the jobless.

Further, the government should initiate campaigns to convince well-wishers and other NGOs to build homes for needy children as well as the poor-aged people. Creation of adoption plans is just but a mega approach in this context. So, even as we bestow our efforts to eradicate homelessness, the government should encourage our people to work by all means. This is another valid mechanism to eliminate poverty and thus homeliness too.

A collaborative approach between the community groups is needed and the government can come up with a plan to build houses for the future. It is evident that the American population increases tremendously the demand for affordable housing units will likely to go high. With the affordable houses in place, such a plan will be critical in meeting such demand when the need arises thereby preventing any incidences of homelessness again

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