During the past few decades, homelessness has been growing rapidly in the United States. It is important to understand the causes and consequences of homelessness. Historically, policymakers have focused on particular groups of individuals, such as young people, homeless families, and people with disabilities. While there has been progress in recent years, individual adults have been left behind.
The definition of homelessness is very flexible. While the physical term includes not having a place to live, it also includes a loss of social connection. People become homeless for a variety of reasons, often because of economic insecurity. Historically, people who are experiencing homelessness are often denied access to health care, safe drinking water, and other social rights. Discrimination against homelessness can also affect political and economic rights.
Homelessness is a human rights issue that must be addressed. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has published a report that takes stock of global homelessness. Although the report does not attempt to provide comprehensive data on the number of homeless people, it does offer insight into the causes of homelessness. The report includes information on unplanned urban migration, the impacts of homelessness on women, and the consequences of homelessness for people with mental illness. The report also highlights the importance of ending homelessness as a human rights issue.
In order to end homelessness, states must first show that they have the resources to house the homeless and provide access to essential housing and other social rights. However, there are few laws that protect the rights of people experiencing homelessness, and many states are failing to end homelessness. This means that policymakers must rely on public funding to provide affordable and quality housing for people experiencing homelessness.
The rate of homelessness has increased for both racial and gender groups. The rates are highest for Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and Black or African Americans. While these groups are smaller than whites or Latinxs, they are still significantly disadvantaged when it comes to housing. The causes of these disparities are often related to racism and caste. The lack of access to healthcare and higher incarceration rates are contributing to the higher rates of homelessness for these groups.
The rates of homelessness have also increased in suburban areas. Foreclosures, higher unemployment rates, and natural disasters are also contributing to the increase in homelessness. This increase is also affecting youth. Youth are often unable to access services because they are young and often face harassment when seeking housing. The CDC website provides tools and trainings to help communities address the problem of homelessness.
The CDC also has a toolkit that provides specific guidance on collaborating with partners to provide effective care for people who are experiencing homelessness. This toolkit includes strategies for minimizing service disruption following a disaster and enhancing the capacity of healthcare settings with providers experienced in serving people who are homeless.
The report also highlights the importance of providing supports for subpopulations. For example, the LGBTQ community has unique challenges. People of this community are more likely to be abused and face violence, and they have been disproportionately subject to family rejection based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Williams Institute says that the primary reason for LGBTQ homelessness is family rejection based on sexual orientation or gender.