Although homelessness is more visible to researchers and policy makers in the twenty-first century than in decades prior, it remains methodologically challenging to count and track homeless people. Nonetheless, statistics show that the homeless population is largely male; that women under 30 years old are a growing proportion of the homeless population; and that while homelessness is a largely urban problem, rural homelessness is rising. Homelessness is mainly attributed to poverty and the absence of affordable housing and contributes to a range of social, emotional and health related problems; yet, many cities and states have mobilized laws to deal with the problems homelessness causes for public space use rather than the problems that homelessness causes for those who are homeless. Consequently, researchers argue that in addition to programs that aim to provide temporary and transitional shelter to homeless people, there needs to be an increase in accessible permanent housing and in federal housing resources.
Why Are People Homeless? Housing A lack of affordable housing and the limited scale of housing assistance programs have contributed to the current housing crisis and to homelessness.
Recently, foreclosures have also increased the number of people who experience homelessness. Poverty Homelessness and poverty are inextricably linked. Poor people are frequently unable to pay for housing, food, childcare, health care, and education. Difficult choices must be made when limited resources cover only some of these necessities.
Often it is housing, which absorbs a high proportion of income that must be dropped. If you are poor, you are essentially an illness, an accident, or a paycheck away from living on the streets.
According to the United States Census Bureauthe national poverty rate in was While the poverty rate has been slowly declining sincea couple of factors account for continuing poverty: Lack of Employment Opportunities — With unemployment rates remaining high, jobs are hard to find in the current economy.
Even if people can find work, this does not automatically provide an escape from poverty.
Decline in Available Public Assistance — The declining value and availability of public assistance is another source of increasing poverty and homelessness and many families leaving welfare struggle to get medical care, food, and housing as a result of loss of benefits, low wages, and unstable employment.
Additionally, most states have not replaced the old welfare system with an alternative that enables families and individuals to obtain above-poverty employment and to sustain themselves when work is not available or possible.
Other major factors, which can contribute to homelessness, include: Lack of Affordable Health Care — For families and individuals struggling to pay the rent, a serious illness or disability can start a downward spiral into homelessness, beginning with a lost job, depletion of savings to pay for care, and eventual eviction.
Domestic Violence — Battered women who live in poverty are often forced to choose between abusive relationships and homelessness. Conference of Mayors identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness U.
Conference of Mayors, Addiction — The relationship between addiction and homelessness is complex and controversial. Many people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs never become homeless, but people who are poor and addicted are clearly at increased risk of homelessness.
There are three types of homelessness — chronic, transitional, and episodic — which can be defined as follows: Yet such persons represent a far smaller proportion of the population compared to the transitionally homeless. Transitional Homelessness Transitionally homeless individuals generally enter the shelter system for only one stay and for a short period.
Such persons are likely to be younger, are probably recent members of the precariously housed population and have become homeless because of some catastrophic event, and have been forced to spend a short time in a homeless shelter before making a transition into more stable housing.
Over time, transitionally homeless individuals will account for the majority of persons experiencing homelessness given their higher rate of turnover.
Episodic Homelessness Those who frequently shuttle in and out of homelessness are known as episodically homeless.
They are most likely to be young, but unlike those in transitional homelessness, episodically homeless individuals often are chronically unemployed and experience medical, mental health, and substance abuse problems.
Persons living in poverty are most at risk of becoming homeless, and demographic groups who are more likely to experience poverty are also more likely to experience homelessness. Yet because of methodological and financial constraints, most studies are limited to counting persons who are in shelters or on the street.
While the Census Bureau has taken a series of innovations to better incorporate the homeless population, these procedures continue to undercount this group by failing to visit many locations with homeless populations.
HUD foundindividuals to be homeless on a single night in January The number of families experiencing homelessness has increased significantly from past years.
Close to 40, veterans were homeless on a single night in January Where Do People Experience Homelessness? Homelessness is often assumed to be an urban phenomenon because homeless people are more numerous, more geographically concentrated, and more visible in urban areas.
However, people experience the same difficulties associated with homelessness and housing distress in America's small towns and rural areas as they do in urban areas. In urban areas, estimates commonly rely on counts of persons using services.
However, by this measure, homeless persons in rural areas are likely substantially under-counted due to the lack of rural service sites, the difficulty capturing persons who do not use homeless services, the limited number of researchers working in rural communities, and the minimal incentive for rural providers to collect data on their clients.
Rural homelessness, like urban homelessness, is the result of poverty and a lack of affordable housing, and research has shown: The odds of being poor are between 1.The Symposium event itself, which was held over two days in March of , brought together researchers, policy makers, government officials, service providers, and consumers from across the country to discuss the research papers and directions for future research related to homelessness.
Our Invisible Neighbors is a passionate and informative narrative on homelessness & its many causes. The book is divided into 3 sections: the 1st is a collection of 12 personal accounts of people who were homeless in their past-including the author's, and her mother's.
Emergency Shelters Play a Critical Role in Ending Homelessness. Learn how to make the shift to a low-barrier, housing-focused shelter model with the Alliance's Emergency Shelter Learning Series. A fascinating book that is very dry and statistical in places.
This is more a case study in the origins and natures of homelessness and extreme poverty. The ALS community needs your help to put an end to this devastating disease.
When you participate, advocate, and donate, you advance the fight to find the cure and lead us toward a world without ALS! Putting Research Into Action to Improve Lives. We aim to improve the lives of low-income children and their families by delivering our research to advocates and policymakers seeking to craft effective policies that promote healthy child development, and strong, nurturing families that are economically secure.