The term “homeless” means a person who does not have a fixed place to stay at night. Homelessness can refer to people without a permanent place to live, including those who are unaccompanied youth, families with children, and those who are fleeing domestic violence. People can be homeless while sleeping on the streets, in shelters, or in a car. These individuals lack the resources to find permanent housing. For this reason, the AP Stylebook does not use the term “homeless,” and only uses the relevant noun.
The numbers are alarming. According to a study conducted by Roth et al., four out of 10 people are black. This is surprising because the African-American population is only 13% of the entire US population, but still, there are three times more black homeless people than any other race in the country. Native Americans, meanwhile, only make up 2.8% of the homeless population, but they represent nearly double the overall population when it comes to being homeless.
Homeless people are typically poor, mentally ill, or physically impaired. While they may sleep on the streets, they may also sleep in parks. Oftentimes, a homeless person may not have a permanent address because they have no place to live. Some are in desperate situations and a permanent residence might be in their best interests. However, in a city like Los Angeles, there are many homeless individuals, so it’s important to know about them.
Homelessness is defined differently by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2007, more than thirty-six states reported decreases in overall homelessness, while 14 states reported increases in the other major categories. While the majority of states followed the national trend for reducing the number of homeless individuals, families, and veterans, only six states reported an increase in homelessness. That means that it’s impossible to determine the exact number of homeless people in a given state.
Many homeless people have been abused or assaulted. Many men and women who are homeless have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can cause a host of medical and emotional problems. Some are even unable to hold a job. While these individuals may not murder another person, their lives have been severely compromised by the lack of affordable housing. While it’s hard to say what caused their situation, these people should seek help from local homelessness assistance agencies.
There are many other causes of homelessness, and mental health services are not always easily accessible. A 1990 survey published in Hospital and Community Psychiatry found that nearly one-third of homeless men and women suffer from a serious mental illness. Schizophrenia is the most common mental disorder among U.S. homeless people, and personality disorders are also quite common. Substance abuse is another reason for homelessness, as it can lead a person to lose contact with family and friends.
The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing adjusted its methodology for 2019 to align it with federal standards used by HUD. Previous homelessness counts included individuals not falling under the federal standard of homelessness, including those confined to jails and hospitals, and families living in SRO units. The new definition will exclude more people. The old definition, referred to as the San Francisco standard, included 9,808 people in the count. Earlier, a California bill referred to the San Francisco standard.