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How Those Facing Homelessness are Susceptible to Violence

People who face homelessness face many problems such as an inability to access to food, shelter, and other basic necessities. What is often overlooked however, is the fact that someone facing homelessness is highly susceptible to experiencing violence. 

During the week of July 14, 2022, three people facing homelessness were stabbed in New York while they were asleep, and one of those individuals was fatally wounded. In one week alone, multiple other unhoused people in NYC were victims of violence. Violence against those experiencing homelessness is occurring nation-wide. In 2021, Los Angeles Country had a record-high murder count, and 85 of the victims were unhoused indiviuals. 

The occurrence of violence can depend on gender as well; a study found that 48% of women facing homelessness were victims of violence, with 18% being victims of sexual assault. Such violence creates long-lasting impacts on mental health and physical well-being. As a resuly, these incidents can cause the cycle of homelessness to persist.

Violence against those facing homelessness remains on the rise, indicating a systemic lack of action. It is a widespread issue that dehumanizes unhoused people across the nation. 

A lack of shelter puts those facing homelessness in a position where they remain vulnerable and trapped. Not having access to safe shelter leaves unhoused individuals in a position where they are likely to face violence.

We can make a change by educating others on why people are facing homelessness in the first place. Homelessness is  primarily caused by sudden, uncontrollable factors. Advocating for change and more housing options can help get people off the streets and into safer spaces, leaving these individuals in less vulnerable positions. 

People facing homelessness are far more likely to be victims of violence, which reinforces the cycle of homelessness. It is important to remember that someone facing homelessness is human, just like the rest of us, facing problems that do not have simple solutions. It is up to people in more fortunate situations to help end homelessness and limit the chances of people facing any form of violence due to a lack of shelter and security.

Sources: 

https://homelessness.ucsf.edu/blog/violence-against-people-homeless-hidden-epidemic

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2022/01/24/serial-murders-beatings-beheadings-violence-against-homeless-is-increasing-advocates-say/

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