People who face homelessness can experience a cycle living in prisons and on the streets, which places these individuals at a major disadvantage. As more and more cities criminalize homelessness, it becomes difficult for the unhoused to live without facing charges. Those with a criminal record may be denied from shelters and potential job opportunities. As a result, breaking the cycle of homelessness becomes nearly impossible.
Changes are continuously occurring in communities across the nation. Whether they are national policies or architectural changes to local buildings, changes often add to the hardships of homeless individuals. Yet more recently, there is a trend leading the other way, and favorable policies are heading in a better direction for the unhoused community.
People have become increasingly drawn to solving significant issues in our constantly evolving world. One way to participate is by having a platform on which information can be quickly disseminated, and connections can be utilized. Most celebrities have this platform and become activists for causes that they are passionate about. However, some celebrities only go so far as to support their chosen causes. In regards to homelessness, the repercussions of their lack of action are not only visible but detrimental.
Serving in the military is seen as the most honorable thing one can do for the nation. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, there were 19 million military veterans in the United States in 2021. These individuals account for about 7% of the nation’s total population, but they also make up 13% of the adult population experiencing homelessness. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development states that on any given night, over 40,000 veterans are forced to sleep on the streets. Why are these highly-respected individuals experiencing homeless?
Approximately 2.5 million children in America face homelessness each year; that is 1 in 30 children. These children suffer physically, mentally, and often struggle as adults if they are not helped. It is fundamental that we support these children in order to give them a fair chance at success and happiness.
When discussing homelessness, the term affordable housing often always appears. We often hear that the lack of affordable housing is the root cause of homelessness, and that we need more affordable housing as the solution. But what exactly is affordable housing, and how will it help those experiencing homelessness?
The victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking are often those who are already vulnerable such as; those suffering from homelessness, poverty, addiction, or mental illness. Traffickers and abusers often seek out those who are homeless and prey on their lack of housing, offering a place to stay in exchange for sexual favors. The lack of housing often opens up an unfortunate cycle for survivors; they will escape their abusers only to be left financially destitute and vulnerable to re-exploitation.
A decade ago, the housing shortage remained primarily an issue for democratic coastal states, but today the issue has rapidly spread across the nation. According to The New York Times, housing shortages threaten “the quality of life of Americans, the health of the nation’s economy, and the politics of housing construction.” The next generation of home-buyers may not be able to secure housing or even afford it. This raises the question: Why is the housing shortage now a national crisis?
Many individuals believe that we simply have to build more homes to reduce the number of people living on the streets. This, however, is a common misconception. Homelessness is far more than a housing issue; healthcare, economics, and education are just a few of the factors that play a part in America’s homelessness crisis. The interconnected relationship between these factors makes solving homelessness particularly difficult.