Making an Impact on the Homeless in America
National statistics on the Homeless have often been misleading, but a new report shows the need for action. As homelessness increases, more Americans are facing extreme financial hardship. In January 2019, 34 million people – 10 percent of the population – were homeless. Housing costs accounted for one in five American households – an increase of 10 percent from 2007.
Human rights experts have noted that people experiencing homelessness are subject to discrimination. Their lack of official addresses and housing situation makes them vulnerable to social, economic, and political discrimination. However, few countries and states have passed laws that specifically address homelessness. Some of these laws focus on housing and social rights, but do not address the underlying causes. Natural disasters, unplanned urban migration, and speculation all lead to a high level of homelessness. Additionally, urban “gentrification” forces low-income families into precarious circumstances.
There is a huge body of literature on homelessness. While some authors have portrayed the problem in impressionistic ways, many others have performed detailed data analyses and substantial surveys. A study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, for example, shows that the number of homeless people in the United States increased by 15 to 50 percent each year. The authors point to a need for more research. Taking action is necessary to make an impact on the Homeless in America.
The homeless comprise a diverse population. While the majority of the population is adults, children and adolescents are at particular risk of experiencing homelessness. Children in particular are especially vulnerable to behavioral and emotional problems. Fortunately, local homelessness assistance agencies can provide help for the youth in your community. If you or a loved one has ever been homeless, you can help them. There are many programs available to help people overcome homelessness and rebuild their lives. You can begin to rebuild their lives today.
Statistics on the Homeless show that black people are particularly vulnerable to homelessness. Approximately four in ten homeless individuals are black. African Americans, which comprise 13% of the total US population, have almost three times as many homeless people as the general population. Native Americans, meanwhile, make up 2.8% of the country’s homeless population. That means that they are almost twice as likely to die from homelessness than the rest of the population. There are many more reasons to help those in need of housing.
The causes of homelessness are often complex. Many women and children have experienced abuse in their lives and are forced to leave. In addition, a large number of men are veterans who suffered from PTSD and have trouble holding down a job. There are many programs and agencies in place to help the homeless. And there are some government programs to provide food, medical care, and shelter. But the need for assistance must be met. So, how can we help?
The US census reports on the homelessness of approximately half a million people each night. This represents about 0.2% of the total US population. And it should not come as a surprise that some areas have more homeless people than others. Lack of support has contributed to this disparity. Across the country, New York, California, and the District of Columbia have the highest rates of homelessness. And we can do better in every state to help the homeless.