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Essays on Homelessness

Homelessness essay topics and outline examples, essay title 1: homelessness in america: root causes, consequences, and strategies for solutions.

Thesis Statement: This essay examines the multifaceted issue of homelessness in America, identifying its underlying causes, analyzing its social and economic consequences, and proposing comprehensive strategies for addressing and preventing homelessness.

  • Introduction
  • Defining Homelessness: A Complex and Diverse Challenge
  • Root Causes of Homelessness: Poverty, Housing Affordability, and Mental Health
  • The Human Toll: Health, Safety, and Vulnerability of Homeless Individuals
  • Governmental and NGO Initiatives: Shelters, Services, and Support Systems
  • Housing First Approach: Providing Stable Housing as a Foundation for Recovery
  • Prevention and Advocacy: Collaborative Efforts to Combat Homelessness

Essay Title 2: Hidden in Plain Sight: Exploring the Lives of Homeless Youth and Their Struggles for Stability

Thesis Statement: This essay focuses on the often-overlooked issue of youth homelessness, delving into the unique challenges faced by homeless young people, the factors contributing to their predicament, and the importance of specialized support and intervention programs.

  • The Invisible Crisis: Understanding the Scope of Youth Homelessness
  • Causes of Youth Homelessness: Family Dynamics, LGBTQ+ Youth, and Foster Care
  • Survival on the Streets: Vulnerabilities and Exploitation
  • Education and Future Prospects: Overcoming Barriers to Stability
  • Innovative Solutions: Transitional Housing, Mentorship, and Education Programs
  • Advocacy and Awareness: Mobilizing Support for Homeless Youth

Essay Title 3: Homelessness and Mental Health: The Interplay of Vulnerabilities, Stigmatization, and Access to Care

Thesis Statement: This essay explores the intricate relationship between homelessness and mental health issues, examining the challenges faced by homeless individuals with mental illness, the stigmatization they endure, and the importance of accessible mental health services.

  • Homelessness as a Consequence and Contributor to Mental Illness
  • Stigmatization and Discrimination: The Dual Burden of Homelessness and Mental Health Challenges
  • Barriers to Accessing Mental Health Services: A Critical Gap in Care
  • Models of Integrated Care: Collaborative Approaches to Addressing Mental Health Needs
  • Community Support and Rehabilitation: Empowering Homeless Individuals on the Path to Recovery
  • Policy and Advocacy: Promoting Systemic Change and Mental Health Equity

Addressing Homelessness: a Call for Collective Responsibility

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Homelessness in America

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Homelessness and Its Effects on Children

Analysis of homelessness as a social problem, poverty and homelessness in the united states, a modest proposal to solve the issue of homelessness, get a personalized essay in under 3 hours.

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The Problems Caused by Homelessness and Ways to Solve Them

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Homelessness refers to a complex societal issue characterized by individuals or families lacking stable, safe, and adequate housing. It encompasses a state of not having a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, which often leads to individuals residing in temporary shelters, transitional housing, or public spaces not intended for human habitation.

Homelessness remains a significant issue in the United States, with a complex set of factors contributing to its prevalence today. Despite efforts to address the problem, homelessness continues to affect individuals and communities across the country. In the US, homelessness is influenced by a combination of economic, social, and systemic factors. Economic inequality, lack of affordable housing, unemployment, mental health issues, and substance abuse are among the primary contributors to homelessness. Additionally, systemic issues such as systemic racism and discrimination can disproportionately affect marginalized communities, leading to higher rates of homelessness among minority populations. Efforts to combat homelessness involve a range of strategies, including emergency shelters, transitional housing, and supportive services. Nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and community initiatives play crucial roles in providing assistance, outreach, and advocacy for the homeless population. However, challenges persist in addressing homelessness effectively. The scarcity of affordable housing, limited access to mental health services, and gaps in social support systems continue to hinder progress. Additionally, the recent economic downturns and the COVID-19 pandemic have further exacerbated the issue, leading to an increase in homelessness in certain areas.

In the early stages of civilization, homelessness was often a consequence of natural disasters, wars, or displacement due to economic or political upheavals. However, with the rise of urbanization and industrialization, homelessness took on a new dimension. The growth of cities and the widening wealth gap led to overcrowded slums and impoverished conditions, pushing many individuals and families into homelessness. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, mass unemployment and economic collapse resulted in a significant increase in homelessness. The government response to the crisis led to the establishment of social welfare programs and the construction of public housing. In subsequent decades, the deinstitutionalization of mental health facilities, the decline in affordable housing, and the impact of structural inequality further contributed to the persistence of homelessness.

Street/Homeless Shelter: This is the most visible form of homelessness, where individuals lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. They often live in public spaces, such as streets, parks, or makeshift shelters, or rely on emergency shelters for temporary accommodation. Hidden/Homeless Families: This form of homelessness includes families or individuals who do not have a permanent home but seek temporary accommodation with friends, family, or in motels. They may double up with other households or live in overcrowded conditions. Chronic Homelessness: This category refers to individuals who experience long-term or repeated episodes of homelessness. They may struggle with multiple complex issues, such as mental health disorders, substance abuse, and lack of stable employment. Youth Homelessness: Young people who do not have a safe and stable place to live fall into this category. Veteran Homelessness: This refers to veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Factors such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), lack of social support, and difficulties transitioning to civilian life contribute to their housing instability.

1. Poverty and Lack of Affordable Housing 2. Unemployment and Low Income 3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues 4. Domestic Violence 5. Family and Relationship Breakdowns 6. Systemic Factors

1. Health Challenges 2. Education and Employment Barriers 3. Social Isolation and Stigma 4. Increased Risk of Victimization 5. Economic Burden

Film: "The Pursuit of Happyness" (2006) is based on the true story of Chris Gardner, who faces homelessness while trying to provide for his young son. The film portrays the challenges faced by a single father and sheds light on the experiences of homelessness. Documentaries: "Dark Days" (2000) directed by Marc Singer captures the lives of people living in an underground tunnel in New York City. The documentary provides an intimate and raw portrayal of the daily struggles and resilience of those experiencing homelessness. News Coverage: News outlets often cover stories related to homelessness, showcasing the experiences of individuals and the impact on communities. They shed light on policy issues, challenges faced by homeless individuals, and initiatives aimed at addressing the issue. Photography: Numerous photographers have documented the lives of people living on the streets, capturing their humanity and the harsh realities they face. Notable photographers like Diane Arbus, Mary Ellen Mark, and Lee Jeffries have produced impactful images that challenge stereotypes and elicit empathy.

1. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), on any given night, over half a million people experience homelessness in the United States. 2. Youth homelessness is a significant issue, with an estimated 4.2 million young people experiencing homelessness each year in the United States. 3. Approximately 35% of the homeless population in the U.S. consists of families with children, highlighting the impact of homelessness on families and the need for support systems. 4. Chronic homelessness, defined as long-term or repeated homelessness, affects around 25% of the overall homeless population. 5. Veterans are disproportionately affected by homelessness. On a single night in January 2020, an estimated 37,252 veterans experienced homelessness in the United States. 6. The cost of homelessness is significant. Studies have shown that providing housing and support services to individuals experiencing chronic homelessness can be more cost-effective than leaving them on the streets, as it reduces costs associated with emergency healthcare, incarceration, and other public services.

The topic of homelessness is of utmost importance to explore and address in an essay due to its profound impact on individuals, communities, and society as a whole. Understanding the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to homelessness is crucial in fostering empathy, raising awareness, and driving meaningful change. Writing an essay about homelessness allows us to shed light on the underlying factors that contribute to homelessness, such as poverty, lack of affordable housing, mental health issues, and systemic inequalities. By examining these root causes, we can challenge societal norms and advocate for social policies that address homelessness effectively. Additionally, exploring the effects of homelessness on individuals and communities helps us recognize the immense hardships faced by those experiencing homelessness, including physical and mental health challenges, social isolation, and limited access to education and employment opportunities. This understanding can cultivate compassion and inspire action to provide support, resources, and pathways to stability for those in need. Moreover, discussing the topic of homelessness encourages us to consider innovative solutions, such as affordable housing initiatives, supportive services, and community-based programs. By analyzing successful interventions and best practices, we can contribute to the ongoing efforts aimed at preventing and alleviating homelessness.

1. Lee, B. A., Tyler, K. A., & Wright, J. D. (2010). The new homelessness revisited. Annual review of sociology, 36, 501-521. (https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-soc-070308-115940) 2. Hwang, S. W. (2001). Homelessness and health. Cmaj, 164(2), 229-233. (https://www.cmaj.ca/content/164/2/229.short) 3. Waldron, J. (1991). Homelessness and the Issue of Freedom. UCLA L. Rev., 39, 295. (https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/uclalr39&div=16&id=&page=) 4. McCarthy, B., & Hagan, J. (1991). Homelessness: A criminogenic situation?. The British Journal of Criminology, 31(4), 393-410. (https://academic.oup.com/bjc/article-abstract/31/4/393/498747) 5. Hopper, K. (2015). Reckoning with homelessness. In Reckoning with Homelessness. Cornell University Press. (https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.7591/9780801471612/html?lang=en) 6. Gaetz, S., O'Grady, B., Kidd, S., & Schwan, K. (2016). Without a home: The national youth homelessness survey. (https://policycommons.net/artifacts/2237953/without-a-home/2996006/) 7. Gelberg, L., Linn, L. S., Usatine, R. P., & Smith, M. H. (1990). Health, homelessness, and poverty: a study of clinic users. Archives of Internal Medicine, 150(11), 2325-2330. (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/614142) 8. Bassuk, E. L. (2010). Ending child homelessness in America. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 80(4), 496. (https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2011-25070-006) 9. Quigley, J. M., Raphael, S., & Smolensky, E. (2001). Homeless in America, homeless in California. Review of Economics and Statistics, 83(1), 37-51. (https://direct.mit.edu/rest/article-abstract/83/1/37/57244/Homeless-in-America-Homeless-in-California) 10. Bowdler, J. E. (1989). Health problems of the homeless in America. The Nurse Practitioner, 14(7), 44-47. (https://europepmc.org/article/med/2748030)

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Homelessness - Free Essay Samples And Topic Ideas

Homelessness is a social issue characterized by individuals lacking stable, safe, and adequate housing. Essays on homelessness could explore the causes, such as economic instability, mental health issues, or systemic problems, and the societal impacts of homelessness. Discussions may also cover various solutions and strategies being employed by different regions to address homelessness and support the affected populations. A substantial compilation of free essay instances related to Homelessness you can find at Papersowl. You can use our samples for inspiration to write your own essay, research paper, or just to explore a new topic for yourself.

Effects of Homelessness and Student Academic Achievement

Supporting and understanding the differing at-risk students, especially students experiencing homelessness, in the classroom is an important aspect of being an educator. Teachers are often seen as important referents in a community. The ways that teachers interact with homeless children and families convey important messages to children and families. Teacher views about children and families can indeed foster feelings of worthiness or the lack thereof (Powers-Costell & Swick, 2011 p.208). For teachers to teach these at-risk students, they must fully […]

Substance Abuse and Homelessness

Homelessness is becoming a more and more prevalent issue in America as years progress. Drive through any city's downtown area and you're bound to see at least one, if not many more, homeless individuals or families residing along the streets or in homeless camps. In many cases, these people have been suffering from homelessness for years and this has simply become their norm; this is known as chronic homelessness. Although this has become a way of life for many, homelessness […]

Veterans: Fight for Freedom and Rights

Veterans have sacrificed so much for our country by fighting to maintain our freedom and rights. For this reason, the government should do something about the veterans poverty rate. Veterans have resources that they could use but the resources do not always reach out to the veterans in need. The rate of homeless veterans is very high compared to non-veterans in the United States because they were usually not ever taught how to write a resume and many have had […]

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My Opinion about Homelessness

My opinion is based on what I see and encounter and also from research. Homelessness. Homeless people did not choose the lifestyle on purpose, misfortune made the choice for them consequently they should be generously assisted kind heartedly without social isolation, pity, job insecurities, humiliation, pitiful wages e.t.c. Learning by choice or pain, which would you rather settle with? Unique story. Every person who has become homeless has a unique story about what happened to them. I can fill these […]

Homelessness and Mental Illness

Research problem: Homelessness Research question: Why is the mental health population and people with disabilities more susceptible to becoming homeless? Mental health policies that underserve vulnerable people are a major cause of homelessness. The deinstitutionalization of mental hospitals, including the failure of aftercare and community support programs are linked to homelessness. Also, restrictive admission policies that keep all but the most disturbed people out of psychiatric hospitals have an effect on the rising number of homeless people. The New York […]

Homeless Veterans

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Homelessness Problem in LA

Homelessness in LA is not an isolated case in U.S but rather public issue from 1980s since represents a huge problem for several cities as well as for largely populated states. People are facing this problem in daily basis; every time we are waiting by the traffic lights on the street, homeless people approaches to us and ask us either for a food or a change. Homeless people are people who are without a home and therefore living on the […]

The Causes of Homelessness

Homelessness has been a problem in American society for many generations. There are countless amounts of people who live without a permanent home and lack the basic essentials of life, such as food,wds `1ater, and clothes. It is likely when you walk or drive in your city that you will encounter a homeless person. Often when you are passing by a homeless individual or group, the thought comes to your mind, how did the end up here? Or why or […]

How Poverty Affects a Child’s Brain and Education

Although children are some of the most resilient creatures on earth. Living in poverty has risks that can cause children all types of issues. That makes you wonder, does poverty have an effect on a child's brain development? The million dollar question. How does poverty affect children's brain development? Poverty can cause health and behavioral issues. There is suggestive evidence that living in poverty may alter the way a child's brain develops and grows, which can, in turn, alter the […]

Unemployment a Major Cause of Homelessness

Homelessness or known as extreme poverty can be interpreted as a circumstance when people have no place to stay with the result that they end up live in the street, under the bridge even at the side of the river. There are 3.5 million Americans are homeless each year. Of these, more than 1 million are children and on any given night, more than 300,000 children are homeless. They who do not have an occupation are the one that is […]

Homelessness is not a Choice

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Closing the Education Gap by Attacking Poverty Among Children

Looking around the campus of an Ivy League schools, one wonders how students from such diverse backgrounds ultimately wound up at the same place. From having a mother who works in admissions, I grew up hearing that no matter where you came from, your socioeconomic status, and even sometimes your grades, all kids have the potential to attend a prestigious university. However, I find that hard to believe. With a combination of taking this class on homelessness this semester, growing […]

Homelessness in the United States

Homelessness is a social problem that has long plagued the United States and surrounding Countries for centuries. It is an economic and social problem that has affected people from all walks of life, including children, families, veterans, and the elderly. Kilgore (2018). States homelessness is believed to have affected an estimated amount of 2.5-3.5 million people each year in the United States alone. Recent evidence suggests economic conditions have increased the number of people affected by homelessness in the United […]

Youth Homelessness in the United States

Imagine having to live on the streets, in unbearable conditions, never knowing what it is like to be in a stable environment. This presents many challenges faced by children as young as a few months old. These challenges are faced by some of the more than 500,000 children (Bass 2017). These children do not have anywhere to call home and very little resources to help them a place to live. These numbers of homeless youth are increasing making it harder […]

Homelessness in Hometown

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Homelessness Policy in the United States

The logic behind the previous and current strategy of state-funded and driven housing policy improvement is that by allowing cities and states to control and determine policy fitting their specific needs, there will be more room for innovative strategies for complex problems. The affordable housing struggle of 2018 is different from those of the 1960s or 1980s, and its solution may require a more creative solution than federal vouchers and subsidies equally applied based on income. In a world of […]

America is Suffering from Poverty

United states of America haves a population of 325.7 million people. As Americans we love Sunday night football, Drake concerts, watching Donald Trump run our country into a hole andoursocial networks. Although we have several interests we cannot let it entertain us from the fact that America is suffering from poverty. Poverty is the state of being awfully poor. What decent country puts more focus on their Instagram poststhan their bank account funds? According to World Bank, in 2013 769 […]

Homelessness cannot be Solved Overnight

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The Issue of Homelessness

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Homelessness in San Gabriel Valley

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What Can we do to Fix Homelessness?

Agrawal, Nina. L.A. County Declares a Shelter Crisis, Providing Flexibility in How It Provides Beds and Assistance. Los Angeles Times, 30 Oct. 2018, www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-board-homeless-shelter-declaration-20181030-story.html. A shelter crisis was declared on October 30, 2018. This called for the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority to have be allowed to spend $81 million in a more flexible way. Declaring a shelter crisis allows the homeless ability to bypass some regulations and get access to emergency housing. This also gives the flexibility to spend […]

Suicidality in Transgender Teens

Gender identity is defined as one’s sense of being a male, female, or other gender. It is the individual’s own connection to their gender which defines who they are. Many people feel as if the sex they were born with does not match with the gender they identify with. In many cases, people may identify as transgender. Transgender individuals believe, “the sex assigned at birth is discordant with their gender identity” (Sitkin & Murota, 2017, p. 725). An example of […]

The Trauma of Homelessness

It's the age-old question, the chicken or the egg, and how do you serve it best? In this case what came first, being homeless or Post-Traumatic Stress disorder, and how do you end it? Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and homelessness can create a cycle that feeds on itself. The act of becoming homeless in itself can act as a catalyst for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, while also being caused by it. Permanent sustainable housing has proven to be effective in addressing both […]

Extra Credit Solutions to Homelessness: Sociological Vs Individualistic Views

The contemporary social problem I have choose to discuss is homelessness throughout our country. As of 2017, 554,000 people were reported to be homeless. People who are homeless are unable to maintain housing, and usually have income. Homelessness can be hereditary, or self-imposed, the reasons people are homeless differ between their personal life stories of how they got there. This number has increased since previous years making homelessness a major issue in our country, especially in large cities such as […]

The Consequences of Homelessness – a Childhood on the Streets

“A therapeutic intervention with homeless children (2) often confronts us with wounds our words cannot dress nor reach. These young subjects seem prey to reenactments of a horror they cannot testify to” (Schweidson & Janeiro 113). According to Marcal, a stable environment and involved parenting are essential regarding ability to provide a healthy growing environment for a child (350). It is unfortunate then, that Bassuk et al. state that 2.5 million, or one in every 30 children in America are […]

Homelessness in America

Life brings along a lot of good and bad affairs. However, we try to focus on the good that brings us happiness. Experience sometimes tends to ruin the good times. One of the bad affairs that society today faces is homelessness. Homelessness can be defined as not having a fixed roof over one's head or living in temporary accommodation under the threat of eviction[1]. This paper focuses on societal views to try to explain the issue of homelessness in the […]

Mental Disorders Among Homeless Veterans

There have been many studies performed over the past several years to test the theory of why veterans who suffer from mental and/or substance use disorders have a higher possibility of becoming homeless. Those studies also included the impact of war and combat as well as several risk factors while our veterans served in the military. The road that leads to homelessness if often left untreated and further complicates treatment and therapy to fix the underlying issues. There are several […]

Poverty and Homelessness in America

Poverty and Homelessness in America is a daunting subject which everyone recognizes but do not pay attention to. A homeless person is stereotypically thought to be a person who sleeps at the roadside, begging for money and influenced by drug with dirty ragged clothes and a person who is deprived of basic facilities in his or her life such as; education, electricity, proper clothes, shelter, water with a scarcity of balanced diet is termed as person living under the line […]

Addressing Homelessness Lie

According to recent studies, about 150 million people worldwide are homeless. It is estimated that another 1.6 billion people live in inadequate housing conditions. This means that about 20% of the world's population suffers from poor housing conditions, homelessness or from the danger of becoming homeless. Poverty is a big reason when it comes to homelessness. If people have debts and don't have a suitable job to pay them off, they may lose their homes as they won't be able […]

Mental Illness is One Type of Homelessness

'Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings', an unforgettable quote by the man himself Nelson Mandela. For his fight against racial prejudice and apartheid, Nelson leaves a towering legacy that will be recalled for generations to come. But, today's world is pervaded with the good and the evil. There are those that assist to keep a relatively-stable society; and then there are those who just […]

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How To Write an Essay About Homelessness

Understanding the complexity of homelessness.

Before beginning an essay on homelessness, it's essential to understand its complexity. Homelessness is not just the absence of physical housing but is often intertwined with issues like poverty, mental health, substance abuse, and social exclusion. Start your essay by defining homelessness, which may vary from sleeping rough on the streets to living in temporary shelters or inadequate housing. It's also important to acknowledge the different demographics affected by homelessness, such as veterans, families, the youth, and the chronically homeless. This foundational understanding sets the stage for a nuanced discussion in your essay.

Researching and Gathering Data

An essay on homelessness should be grounded in factual, up-to-date data. Research statistics from reliable sources such as government reports, reputable NGOs, and academic studies. This research might include figures on the number of homeless individuals in a specific region, the primary causes of homelessness, and the effectiveness of various intervention programs. By presenting well-researched information, your essay will not only be more credible but will also provide a factual basis for your arguments.

Selecting a Specific Angle

Homelessness is a broad topic, so it's crucial to select a specific angle for your essay. You might choose to focus on the causes of homelessness, the challenges faced by homeless individuals, or the societal impact of homelessness. Alternatively, you could discuss policy solutions and interventions that have been successful or have failed. This focus will provide your essay with a clear direction and allow you to explore a particular aspect of homelessness in depth.

Analyzing Causes and Effects

A key part of your essay should be dedicated to analyzing the causes and effects of homelessness. Discuss various factors that lead to homelessness, such as economic downturns, lack of affordable housing, family breakdown, and mental health issues. Similarly, explore the impact of homelessness on individuals and society, like health problems, social isolation, and economic costs. This analysis will help readers understand the multifaceted nature of the problem.

Discussing Solutions and Conclusions

Towards the end of your essay, discuss potential solutions to homelessness. This could include government policies, community-based initiatives, or innovative approaches like housing-first models. Highlight the importance of a multi-faceted approach, addressing not just the lack of housing but also underlying issues like health care, education, and employment support. Conclude your essay by summarizing the key points discussed, restating the importance of addressing homelessness, and suggesting areas for future research or action.

Finalizing Your Essay

After writing your essay, take the time to review and refine it. Ensure that your arguments are coherent and supported by evidence. Check for grammatical errors and ensure that your writing is clear and concise. It might also be beneficial to get feedback from peers or instructors. A well-written essay on homelessness will not only inform but also potentially inspire action or further discussion on this critical social issue.

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Essays About Homelessness: Top 8 Examples Plus Prompts

Everyone has heard of homeless people at some point in their lives; if you are writing essays about homelessness, read our top essay examples and prompts.

Poverty is one of the greatest evils in the world. Its effects are seen daily, from people begging on the streets to stealing to support their families. But unfortunately, one of the most prominent and upsetting diversity is homelessness. Homelessness is a significant problem in even the most developed nations, including the U.S. and Canada. Despite all the resources used to fight this issue, countries often lack the means to reduce homelessness significantly. With the proper aid, homelessness can be entirely eradicated in the future. 

If you want to write essays about homelessness, keep reading to see our essay examples and helpful writing prompts.


2. A journey with the homeless by Sujata Jena

3. i chose to be homeless: reflections on the homeless challenge by emily kvalheim, 4. my experience being homeless by scott benner, 5. what people get wrong when they try to end homelessness by james abro, 1. causes of homelessness , 2. how can homelessness be reduced, 3. mental illness and homelessness, 4. reflection on homelessness, 5. is homelessness a “personal problem”.

Are you looking for more? Check out our guide packed full of transition words for essays

1. That Homeless Man is My Brother by Megan Regnerus

“But the subtext of my friend’s statement is really Why should I give money to someone who’s lazy; who isn’t willing to work for money like I do?’ And to that I say, her opinion that people who ask for money are freeloaders who could work but choose not to, is based on assumption. It relies on the notion that the two things that shape us into able-bodied adults who can hold down a regular job, nature and nurture, are level playing fields. And they’re not.”

Regnerus writes about a friend’s claim that the homeless are “lazy,” reminding her of her homeless brother. She cites genetics and circumstance as contributing factors to homelessness. Despite the other woman being her friend, Regnerus strongly refutes her belief that the homeless are non-disabled freeloaders- they should be treated with empathy. For more, check out these articles about homelessness .

“I realize that the situation of poverty and homelessness is a huge social problem around the world. But when I meet them, I face fellow human beings, not some abstract “social problem.” The very phrase, “What would Jesus do at this scene?” haunted me.  I ventured to ask their names, age, where they came from, where they live (street, bridges, cemetery) and the reason they are on the streets. Their stories are poignant. Each one has a unique story to tell about his/her reason to be homeless, how they were forced to leave distant rural villages to live on the city streets. I tried to listen to them with empathy.”

In her essay, Jena remembers the homeless people in Manila, Philippines. She can see them beyond some “aspect of society” as human beings. She empathizes with them extensively and recalls the words of Jesus Christ about loving others, particularly the neediest.

“I, too, have not been compassionate enough, and I have allowed my prejudices to distort my view of the homeless. One woman, who sat across from me at a feeding program, talking to herself erratically, may have seemed strange to me before the Homeless Challenge. But when I really saw myself as her equal, and when I took the time to watch her get up and laugh as she danced to the music playing in the background, I thought she was beautiful. She had found her own happiness, amidst despair.”

Kvalheim details her experiences during an immersion challenge with the homeless. She recalls both the discrimination and generosity she experienced and her experiences with other homeless people. She was amazed to see how they could stay positive despite their terrible circumstances. We should be thankful for what we have and use it to help others in need. 

“As my funds dwindled, and the weather got colder, I sought shelter at Father Bill’s in Quincy Ma. When you are homeless, sometimes very small things mean a lot. A dry pair of socks, shoes without holes, a pocketful of change. You begin to realize how much you value your personal space. You begin to realize other people want space too. A lot of people have issues or have suffered in one way or another and you can see their pain. I think that there are people who for a variety of issue are chronically homeless and a larger portion of homeless are transitioning through a series of bad events.”

Benner’s essay, written for the company ArtLifting, reflects on his experience of being homeless for a brief while. Then, he and his wife grew ill, and Benner sought refuge at a homeless shelter after his company shut down. After that, he realized how his struggles were very different from those of others and the value of the more minor things he previously took for granted. Luckily, he escaped homelessness by making art with the help of ArtLifting. 

“The court denied my sister’s request and named me our mother’s legal guardian, but it appointed my sister as guardian of her property.  In 2009, when my mother passed away, my sister evicted me. The day I was scheduled to move out, I stood in a convenience store, dazed, as I stared at microwaveable meals.  These would be my new staple when I moved into the motel room. My phone rang—my sister.  She told me she needed me out of the house in a couple of hours—she was a real estate agent and a client wanted to see the house. ‘No hard feelings,’ she said.”

Similar to Benner, Abro narrates the circumstances surrounding his homelessness. After his mother’s death and a conflict with his sister led to his eviction, he ended up homeless. While his situation was unfortunate, he believes that there are many people worse off than him and that something must change to address the housing and poverty crises in America.

Top 5 Prompts On Essays about Homelessness

Essays about Homelessness: Causes of homelessness

For your essay, it would be interesting to write about how people become homeless in the first place. Research the different causes of homelessness and elaborate on them, and be sure to provide sources such as statistics and anecdotes. 

What solutions to homelessness can you think of? In your essay, propose at least one way you think the homelessness problem can be solved or at least reduced. It must be concrete, realistic, and defensible; be sure to explain your solution well and defend its feasibility, backing up your claims with facts and logic. 

Homelessness and mental health can be linked—research into declining mental health and how homelessness can impact a person’s mental well-being. Make sure to use research data and statistics to show your findings. Conclude whether poor mental health can cause homelessness or if homelessness causes poor mental health.

You can write about what homelessness means to you in your essay. Perhaps you’ve heard stories of homeless people, or maybe you know someone who is or has been homeless. Use this essay to highly the effects of homelessness and how we can work together as a society to eradicate it.

Many say that homeless people “choose to be homeless” and are underachievers; otherwise, they would simply “get a job” and lift themselves out of poverty. Is this true? Research this topic and decide on your stance. Then, write about whether you agree with this topic for a compelling argumentative essay.

If you’re still stuck, check out our general resource of essay writing topics .

Human Rights Careers

5 Essays About Homelessness

Around the world, people experience homelessness. According to a 2005 survey by the United Nations, 1.6 billion people lack adequate housing. The causes vary depending on the place and person. Common reasons include a lack of affordable housing, poverty, a lack of mental health services, and more. Homelessness is rooted in systemic failures that fail to protect those who are most vulnerable. Here are five essays that shine a light on the issue of homelessness:

What Would ‘Housing as a Human Right’ Look Like in California? (2020) – Molly Solomon

For some time, activists and organizations have proclaimed that housing is a human right. This essay explores what that means and that it isn’t a new idea. Housing as a human right was part of federal policy following the Great Depression. In a 1944 speech introducing what he called the “Second Bill of Rights,” President Roosevelt attempted to address poverty and income equality. The right to have a “decent home” was included in his proposals. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration also recognizes housing as a human right. It describes the right to an “adequate standard of living.” Other countries such as France and Scotland include the right to housing in their constitutions. In the US, small local governments have adopted resolutions on housing. How would it work in California?

At KQED, Molly Solomon covers housing affordability. Her stories have aired on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and other places. She’s won three national Edward R. Murrow awards.

“What People Get Wrong When They Try To End Homelessness” – James Abro

In his essay, James Abro explains what led up to six weeks of homelessness and his experiences helping people through social services. Following the death of his mother and eviction, Abro found himself unhoused. He describes himself as “fortunate” and feeling motivated to teach people how social services worked. However, he learned that his experience was somewhat unique. The system is complicated and those involved don’t understand homelessness. Abro believes investing in affordable housing is critical to truly ending homelessness.

James Abro is the founder of Advocate for Economic Fairness and 32 Beach Productions. He works as an advocate for homeless rights locally and nationally. Besides TalkPoverty, he contributes to Rebelle Society and is an active member of the New Jersey Coalition to End Homelessness.

“No Shelter For Some: Street-Sleepers” (2019)

This piece (by an unknown author) introduces the reader to homelessness in urban China. In the past decades, a person wouldn’t see many homeless people. This was because of strict rules on internal migration and government-supplied housing. Now, the rules have changed. People from rural areas can travel more and most urban housing is privatized. People who are homeless – known as “street-sleepers” are more visible. This essay is a good summary of the system (which includes a shift from police management of homelessness to the Ministry of Civil Affairs) and how street-sleepers are treated.

“A Window Onto An American Nightmare” (2020) – Nathan Heller

This essay from the New Yorker focuses on San Francisco’s history with homelessness, the issue’s complexities, and various efforts to address it. It also touches on how the pandemic has affected homelessness. One of the most intriguing parts of this essay is Heller’s description of becoming homeless. He says people “slide” into it, as opposed to plunging. As an example, someone could be staying with friends while looking for a job, but then the friends decide to stop helping. Maybe someone is jumping in and out of Airbnbs, looking for an apartment. Heller’s point is that the line between only needing a place to stay for a night or two and true “homelessness” is very thin.

Nathan Heller joined the New Yorker’s writing staff in 2013. He writes about technology, higher education, the Bay Area, socioeconomics, and more. He’s also a contributing editor at Vogue, a former columnist for Slate, and contributor to other publications.

“Homelessness in Ireland is at crisis point, and the vitriol shown towards homeless people is just as shocking” (2020)#- Megan Nolan

In Ireland, the housing crisis has been a big issue for years. Recently, it’s come to a head in part due to a few high-profile incidents, such as the death of a young woman in emergency accommodation. The number of children experiencing homelessness (around 4,000) has also shone a light on the severity of the issue. In this essay, Megan Nolan explores homelessness in Ireland as well as the contempt that society has for those who are unhoused.

Megan Nolan writes a column for the New Statesman. She also writes essays, criticism, and fiction. She’s from Ireland but based in London.

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About the author, emmaline soken-huberty.

Emmaline Soken-Huberty is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She started to become interested in human rights while attending college, eventually getting a concentration in human rights and humanitarianism. LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and climate change are of special concern to her. In her spare time, she can be found reading or enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty with her husband and dog.

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How To Write Essay About Homelessness

Tablet of the homeless man

Homelessness remains a severe crisis among the low-income earners in most parts of the world. Statics reveal that in the United States alone, over 500,000 people are homeless every single night. That said, writing an excellent essay on homelessness to your examiner not only awards you a top grade but also positions you as a student passionate about everything that revolves around homelessness.

How to Organize an Essay on Homelessness

What matters most in your homelessness essay, what to write in your homelessness essay: essay topics on homelessness, common types of essay about homelessness, are homelessness essay examples helpful.

But here’s the thing: writing solutions to homelessness essay, homelessness essay cause, and effect, or any other topic you settle on is not a walk in the park. You need to research extensively, follow the necessary instructions, and exhaust the topic in a precise and detailed approach. Luckily, our essay for homelessness writers will make everything easy for you.

What Is Homelessness Essay?

A homelessness essay is a piece of writing that allows the students to showcase their thoughts on homelessness without deviating from their chosen topic. A good example is writing a homelessness solutions essay or what causes homelessness essay to your professor. It must come out nicely from the start to the conclusion of the homelessness essay.

Your essay about homelessness might address the episodic, transitional, or chronic types of homelessness. It’s because people are considered homeless whenever they lack a roof over their head, whether staying with friends, on the streets, or in a shelter. But how do you structure your homelessness essay?

Your homelessness essay needs well-written thoughts expressed in a way your examiner finds it easy to read all the sections, understand your idea, and internalize to see whether you present facts appropriately. All this is possible if you use the recommended format. Here’s what you need:

  • Attractive introduction: Your homelessness essay introduction should have the reader’s attention from the word go. It’s here where you claim your idea and create some anticipation. Your last introductory sentence is a debatable thesis statement you’ll be arguing.
  • Idealistic main body: Support your cause and effect essay on homelessness or anything else you’re writing with well-researched data. Write and cite your logical ideas. Your examiner will primarily focus on the facts and flow of your solution to homelessness essay.
  • Satisfactory conclusion: Do you know that homelessness essay conclusions are the most assumed sections? Your conclusion paragraph homelessness essay’s main goal is to summarize the essay. If you write your homelessness conclusion essay right, the examiner knows how to end homelessness essay is not a problem to you and awards you a high score.

Whether you are writing a one-page problem solution essay about homelessness, the cause, and effect of homelessness essay, or a longer essay on homelessness in America, there are things you can’t assume. It’s because they define your prowess and determine the quality of your final paper. Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • Homelessness essay sources
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Are you looking for homelessness essay topics to write for your professor? There’s a lot to write about. You can get a topic idea from the following types of homelessness essays:

  • Mental illness and homelessness essay . Topic idea: how homelessness results in mental illness in young street mothers.
  • Essay about homelessness cause and effect . Topic idea: to what extent does the shortage of affordable homes in America contribute to homelessness?
  • Causes of homelessness essay . Topic idea: fundamental reasons why evictions continue to cause homelessness severely.
  • Solution for homelessness essay . Topic idea: is there’s a need for changing policies on homelessness where a whole family is involved?
  • Youth homelessness essay . Topic idea: factual prove that mandatory drug testing will reduce homelessness in youths.
  • Homelessness social problem essay . Topic idea: homelessness vs. settled citizens concerning the view on community responsibilities.
  • Homelessness in America essay . Topic idea: how can discrimination reduce homelessness in America?
  • Poverty and homelessness essay . Topic idea: government rental assistance and its effectiveness in solving the modern homelessness crisis.

Every student must understand different essays to write what suits the examined context. High school, college, and university examiners are very concerned about the essay you choose to write because it helps them weigh your understanding and skills. These essays include:

  • Argumentative essay on homelessness: a homelessness argumentative essay must convince anybody who reads the essay. The secret here is to give both sides of the story and let your professor see your reasoning.
  • Persuasive essay about homelessness: looking forward to writing a persuasive essay on homelessness? A homelessness persuasive essay without expert touch, opinions, logic, and facts won’t earn you a good grade. Do the necessary.
  • Descriptive essay on homelessness: Sometimes, you might need to describe specific issues revolving around homeless people. In such an essay, focus on the event and visualize it in detail to bring out your imagination and creativity.

A resounding yes! You can depend on previous examples to learn what a homelessness essay requires. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing a homelessness and mental illness essay, causes, and effects of homelessness essay, essay about homelessness in America, or essay on homelessness in Ireland; examples make your writing easy and clearer.

However, make sure you can deliver a sample homelessness essay that even exceeds the quality of the reference examples. A quality homelessness essay must have a clear idea, focus on context, coherent points. Do you feel you have limited time to go through various samples online and deliver a masterpiece? Worry not!

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Home > Research and Publications > Student Work > Salve Regina Dissertations and Theses > Pell Theses > 88

Pell Scholars and Senior Theses

Homelessness: causes, culture and community development as a solution.

Kaitlin Philipps , Salve Regina University Follow

Document Type

This thesis seeks to explain the reasons that homelessness occurs, and how it is currently being dealt with in public policy. Triggers and predictors of homelessness are explored and it is shown that triggers are almost always compounded, indicating a multitude of factors that lead to homelessness. The culture and community surrounding the homeless lifestyle is seen as playing a significant role in how the individual copes with their homelessness. The norms and values of their culture are investigated and its role in rehabilitation is explored. Current institutions for helping the homeless are analyzed for different success rates. Additionally, initiatives and solutions to homelessness from two Western countries, The United States and Denmark are compared for varying successes and failures. Based on the analyzed factors this thesis proposes what could be done to improve the situation of homeless individuals by shaping public policy. Specifically the benefits that community building programs of rehabilitation such as Assertive Community Treatment and Critical Time Intervention could offer if public policy was changed to increase their use are discussed. Specifically, Assertive Community Treatment and Critical Time Intervention are advocated for due to their ability to encourage community development in conjunction with its use of community creation as a tool in decreasing recidivism rates and creating long term solutions for homeless individuals and their reintegration into society.

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The Causes and Impacts of Homelessness Research Paper

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Causes of homelessness in toronto, canada, solutions to homelessness, impact of homelessness on cities and society, difference between homelessness in developed and developing world, conclusions.

Homeless families and individuals live without adequate shelters and basic needs. The homeless is a category of people who face severe forms of economic and social conditions. There are hardly any homeless conditions that do not compromise human health or complicate their ability to access basic needs including, food, health, education and financial services.

The homeless individuals with mental illnesses particularly face a higher risk or becoming casualties of some unlawful acts. The risk factors related to homelessness commonly happen concurrently with other societal factors such as intolerance, poverty and unemployment. For example, the homeless people are denied access to formal education, health care, banking facilities and are exposed to crime and abuse among others.

Liberalists argue that homelessness results from the general nature and the poor economic structures and the manner in which finances and resources are distributed in the society (Hurley, 2002). The liberalists claim that the poor economies cause unemployment making it difficult for the affected individuals to pay for housing and other essential services.

Conversely, the conservatives view the homeless as deserving and lazy individuals given to drug addiction and as people who should not be offered any help. Conservatives believe that the society should not intervene in the conditions of the homeless population. Some extremists go to an extent of preventing people from offering help to the homeless population. They claim that many cases of homelessness occur due to personal faults and that the individuals ought to blame themselves for their condition (Hurley, 2002).

Homelessness predominantly occurs in the developing countries and cities such as Cairo and Tunis where material resources are often insufficient and underdeveloped. The increase in homelessness in the developed countries usually indicates the uneven distribution of national resources.

This is particularly evident in countries such as Canada and the United States. The condition is basically a consequence of the increasing poverty levels and lack of affordable housing which arise due to many other factors including the rise in the cost of rental housing.

This paper seeks to address homelessness as a major problem experienced in both the developed and underdeveloped nations. It then highlights the severe impacts of homelessness to individuals and the society at large. The paper then gives significant comparison between the different ideologies regarding homelessness including the liberal, conservative and extremist viewpoints. The paper also emphasizes on the major similarities and differences between homelessness in the developed and developing countries.

Several definitions are used to give the meaning of homelessness. According to Tipple & Speak (2010), homelessness can be described as a housing situation that does not satisfy the minimum housing standard for an individual or a group of individuals for a period of time, exposing the affected individuals to risks and unfavorable circumstances including poor shelter, lack of food and other basic needs (p. 50).

The term home is an important concept that represents the ideas of identity, belonging, security, comfort and so on. A home provides an environment where an individual is able to set up important social relations with other people through accommodating them in his or her own premise or where the individual is able to choose not to relate to others if he or she decides to do so.

It could also refer to a place or an area where an individual is able to identify the space as his or her own property and where he is able to manage its shape and form. In the past, homelessness was described as lack of the right or freedom to gain access to secure and simply adequate housing.


According to Thompson (2007) there are between 100 million and 1 billion homeless people in the world. In 1987, the number of homeless people in Canada was between 100,000 and 250,000 out of a total population of 28 million people (Hargrave, 2005). There are, however, no accurate statistics of the homeless people in Canada.

Canada’s National Secretariat on homelessness recently estimated the number of Canadians who are homeless as 150,000. Other reports give higher figures of up to 300,000 people. This lack of accurate data limits Canada’s ability to address the problem (Guest, 1997).

Ideological Approaches to Homelessness

Liberals perceive homelessness as a consequence of poor organization and weak economic standing of a country. Thus, the people faced with the challenge do not receive adequate services and facilities such as housing and good health care. In contrast, the conservatives claim that homelessness is a result of laziness and involvement in other evils in the society (Hurley, 2002). Hence, they desist from supporting the homeless.

The CBC news census report has recently approximated that there are about 5060 homeless individuals on the streets and across the city of Toronto Canada. The homeless population in Toronto includes both the people living in the streets and those who risk becoming homeless. In 1996 approximately 26000 persons used the shelter system in the city of Toronto over the last ten years.

Over 200,000 individuals remain homeless in Canada. The increase in homelessness is strongly linked to the rising poverty levels and lack of affordable housing. The number of individuals living in extreme poverty has increased and over forty percent of individuals are children.

The main significant reasons behind the prevailing poverty include the eroding jobs and employment opportunities as well as the decreasing wages of large segments of the workforce and the reduced public assistance. Canadian cities were considered to offer good health services, quality education and sufficient and reliable employment programs. However these have gradually faded away leading to the rise in the homeless population (Leo, 2005).

Lack of affordable housing

Homelessness is fundamentally caused by lack of housing that can be afforded by the poor individuals in Toronto. The accommodation that the poor persons can afford has not profited many in the large cities such as Vancouver and Toronto. The low rental buildings have not been created for a long time.

Many developers in Toronto together with other cities claim that construction of the low income rental apartments creates low profit and has compelled many residents of the Canadian city to choose older, inadequate and deteriorating housing. The cost of refurbishing this type of housing is unaffordable and often surpasses the market cost of the home (Leo, 2005). This has led to a severe shortage of the affordable housing.

Even though the population has drastically improved since the year 1996, in 2001, there were approximately over one million Canadians and city residents staying in homes they could not afford. In Toronto, today, nearly one in every five households experience affordability difficulties and the number is much greater in the inner cities that have worsened housing stocks with disproportionate and impoverished populations combined (Leo, 2005).


Several mentally ill individuals have been abandoned on the streets of Toronto and other major cities. This was particularly one of the main causes of homeless in the early 1980s. The failure by the government to maintain social support programs during the late 1970s led to the creation of health care programs to support the mentally ill patients.

Lack of sufficient funding and financial support to the health care programs however led to their ineffectiveness in taking care of the vulnerable individuals. The individuals with mental health problems have therefore been abandoned and left with no alternative other than spend their livelihood on the streets (Leo, 2005).

Tenants are regularly evicted from rental apartments for minimal rent arrears. About eighty percent of eviction applications for arrears are much below one thousand dollars or an average monthly rent. Approximately seven hundred eviction applicants annually in Toronto are against tenants who do not owe anything but are supposed to have been indefatigably late in the past.

In several instances, in Toronto, the tenants are evicted when the Landlord owes the tenant some funds when the arrears are less than the deposit paid by the tenant at the start of the tenancy to cover the rent for the last month. The landlords have obtained greater incentives to eject tenants by means of rent decontrol which enables the landlords to raise the rent to any value once the tenants have been ejected and when a new tenancy is established. All these have resulted in homelessness each year.

Thousands of persons including children and adults are evicted regularly. Children are forced to terminate their schooling and their emotional and physical health is put at a great risk. There have also been forced evictions of the communities of the homeless individuals from squatter communities in the Canadian cities.

Many households have been dislocated from low income communities in Toronto. Most recently, for example communities of homeless persons have started to organize squatter households and communities and have faced fierce evictions from the police. Instead of getting some assistance from the government it has appeared to tolerate the eviction efforts.

A single mother in Toronto city, depending on some social support and not able to pay rent with an allowance of the average rent is compulsorily ejected by a uniformed individual and abandoned on the street with all her properties and the children. No one gets concerned to ask the evictees whether they have an alternative place to move to. Regardless of the weather conditions or environmental hazards, hundreds of individuals in the Canadian cities continue to be evicted as part of implementing the rule of law in the country.

Political decisions

Definition and approaches to homelessness in Canada reshaped by several political ideologies. The local governmental policy design, develop and execute public policies at all levels of the Canadian government. Knowledge generators, decision makers and knowledge brokers interact to enhance the rationality of the policy making process by means of policy analysis techniques (Levinson, 2004).

Local city mayors and city councils are seen as decision makers, research institutes and academics. The analytical frameworks are however often mismatched with the local policy analysis process because of the underdeveloped nature or absence of the knowledge generators and brokers in many of the municipalities.

Canada’s few urban academics could not probably act as knowledge generators for thousands of the municipalities. Where local interests are often dominant, they are hardly ever long-lived, organized or based on more than emotive responses to local policy problems. These factors have led to increased level of homelessness in the largest Canadian cities (Bistrich, 1999).

Unemployment and inadequate funds

Joblessness has landed many people into financial difficulties, causing them to be evicted and harassed by landlords from their places of residence. Mortgage arrears are said to significantly contribute to the homeless conditions. According to Bistrich (1999), some of the homeless are evicted by their landlords for rent overdue or conflict. Unemployment is the main cause of homelessness. In Toronto, job losses and layoffs have highly contributed to increased homelessness (Hargrave, 2005).

Family Breakdown

The several cases of racism, stigma and social segregation have seriously contributed to family breakdown in Canada, rendering many people homeless. Many women and children have been left homeless due to divorce or when they desert their families due to matters relating to sexual harassment (Guest, 1997)

Substance abuse

Drug abuse has been regarded as a major pathway to homelessness in the developing and developed countries. In Canada, the affected individuals remain without financial support. An assessment of some samples of families in Canada has recently revealed that families with substance abuse disorders are more likely to remain homeless than those without.

In his article, Bistrich (1999) showed that about 30% of the homeless people were raised in children’s homes or by parents who are psychologically unstable. Some of the homeless children were raised by alcoholic parents. Another 20 to 30 % have a criminal background or have been jailed in the past. These contribute to the rise in homelessness.

Shelters and drop-Ins

A community based health care organization referred to as Street health in Toronto was founded in 1980s when a number of homeless individuals identified obstacles to accessing good health care and some nurses responded by providing local drop-in health services. The street health program has greatly expanded and today it provides a variety of programs and services for the homeless persons including marginalized and mentally ill individuals in Toronto city.

Other programs organized and managed by the street health institutions include HIV/AIDS prevention, identification and replacement, nursing care as well as street outreach and harm reduction programs.

The street health institutions have acknowledged the need to obtain data and to carry out research in order to build up frontline services and to construct sound evidence grounds upon which to form its advocacy efforts. Street health engages in research partnerships and carries out community based research on the significant subjects relating to the homeless community (Kirst, Schaefer-McDaniel & Hwang, 2010).

Supportive Housing

Various models of supportive housing have been used to emphasize the provision and protection of secure and non-profit housing that matches with the community development besides providing medical and psychological support programs.

The supportive housing has been used in Toronto and other large Canadian cities to provide housing coupled with the services for the individuals regarded as susceptible to homelessness or marginalized and to help them live independently.

The different forms of supportive housing differ greatly ranging from institutional arrangements for independent self-contained or shared accommodation programs.

The services may be provided on-site by independent organizations or community agencies in partnership with the housing institutions. Residents who need medical attention and services, employment and life skills training including the youth, women, and people with disabilities benefit from the supportive housing programs (Kirst, Schaefer-McDaniel & Hwang, 2010).

Government intervention

The Canadian federal administration and department of human resources develops homelessness initiatives that employ special strategies to help communities to plan long-term solutions to the matters relating to homelessness. In September the year 2010 for example the Canadian chamber of commerce backed up a policy declaration of the annual conference demanding for reallocation of the federal grant

The homeless diversion programs

The rooming house monitoring project was formed in Toronto in the year 1992 as an initiative to enhance the conditions and care in privately owned houses and to people shift to independent living in a rooming house. The project aims at upgrading substandard buildings and targets the vulnerable individuals living in the private rooming houses especially the mentally ill (Fierman, et al, 1991).

The project monitoring demands that the landlords should enter into an operating agreement with the project detailing the food, physical and personal care standards that have to be maintained. The landlords meet frequently with the monitors and tenants and plan menus as they develop relations and trust between the landlords and the tenants.

The range of support services assists the tenants to become more independent and take responsibility for their assistance rather than convey them to the landlords. Project caseworkers meet with households at the income maintenance office in the neighborhood. The team explores all potential housing options including staying with friends or relatives ensuring that the families obtain or apply all the benefits for which they are eligible (Bibars, 1998).

Community employment and enterprise development

One of the common attribute of the homeless individuals is that many of them face chronic poverty. Many initiatives have been used to create employment opportunities to help the homeless individuals to regain confidence and self esteem in their personal abilities. Many of the organizations manage to create their own enterprises to the point of self-reliance. Rideau Street Youth Initiative in Ottawa is an example which involves the improvement of downtown region.

Challenges in controlling children

Single parents experience the psychological challenge of being homeless and a greater challenge of raising their children without the essential basic needs. In some cities, homeless parents have reported difficulty in controlling their children. There is increased conflict between children in temporary shelters than experienced by those in regular homes.

Children do not understand the dramatic events and are therefore psychologically affected by the distress (Zima, et al, 1994). Children born to homeless parents find it difficult to survive. Most of them die within the first twelve months (Fierman, et al, 1991). Academic development of homeless children is also disadvantaged. They perform poorly in schools because of the mobility challenges. Most of them change schools at least twice a year (Guest, 1997).

Sexual abuse

The young and adult females are driven into marital and domestic servitude, making them susceptible to sexual exploitation and abuse. According to YWCA Canada press release (13 March 2012), in Canadian cities, 25-30 % of the people living in the streets and in shelters are women, and teenage girls make up one-third of the homeless youth in urban centers. When women and girls are homeless, they are more vulnerable to sexual abuse. Some young homeless women end up in prostitution (Guest, 1997)

Poor health

Homelessness complicates an individual’s access to proper health care services, exposing them to poor health conditions. It perpetuates the unfavorable health conditions by obstructing an individual’s effort to treat and prevent diseases. The physical health of homeless people weakens because of exposure to the harsh environmental conditions. They suffer from respiratory diseases because of cold at night. Sometimes exposure to harsh weather condition leads to death (Zima, et al, 1994).

Increases rate of crime

Young people run away from home due to various forms of abuse such as sexual harassment. While on the streets, the homeless become exposed to the danger of participating in criminal activities such as robbery. This affects the society because it creates a great sense of insecurity and becomes a threat to the lives of the people who reside in the regions (Zima, et al, 1994).

Public Health challenge

At the extreme end of poverty, many individuals and families crowd the streets due to lack of housing. The social impact is that the overcrowding in refugee camps and on the streets exposes the affected individuals and the society to the dangers of getting new infections and diseases.

Children suffer serious health issues and experience more complications. This later creates an unemployable class of individuals with weakened coping capabilities and who cannot offer the slightest social and physical support to the community (Zima, et al, 1994).

Creates economic complexities

Funding homeless shelters, refugee camps and medical facilities are often very expensive. The taxpayers’ funds are used to fund the programs. This, in a way causes the federal government to direct a significant amount of funds toward the services aimed at taking care of the homeless.

Affects tourism

Many tourists make efforts to avoid a few small areas for example when booking rooms. They will for instance choose to avoid regions for panhandling teenagers and high poverty areas.

Correct data/census information

Many developing countries do not have the correct figures of their homeless and therefore cannot carry out proper planning to support them. Though the contrary is not always true in developed countries, most of them experience different types of homelessness and have the right statistics for the homeless (Guest, 1997).

Social and health conditions

Unlike in developed countries, homeless people in the developing world face all kinds of social abuses. They are evicted, arrested, harassed and abused (Bibars, 1998). They are often victims of crimes. In the developing world, homeless people are not given temporary accommodation. They spend time on the streets begging and asking for food and clothing (Zima, B. T. et al, 1994).

In developing countries, homeless people do not access health facilities like those in developed countries. Most developed countries have mobile clinics specifically for the homeless people. They are often provided with shelter by local authorities in industrialized countries. This is not the often case in developing countries. Homelessness in developing countries is caused by failure of housing supply systems to address the needs of the rapidly growing urban population (Springer, 2000).

The impact of homelessness is severe especially for women and children. The situation can be reduced if authorities develop relevant policies which cater for the poor and the homeless in the society. Some cities have developed plans to ensure that in the next few years there will be no homeless individuals (Watson and Austenberry, 1986). For example, Calgary has significantly reduced homelessness through strategies such as providing affordable housing and providing better support services for the people who move into the homes.

Bibars, I. (1998). Street children in Egypt: from home to street to inappropriate institutions, environment and urbanization . Share International. (10), pp. 201 – 216.

Bistrich, A. (1999). Homelessness in Germany, the visible form of true poverty . Web.

Fierman, A. H. et al. (1991). Growth delay in homeless children. Pediatrics, 88, pp. 918-925.

Guest, D. (1997). The Emergence of Social Security in Canada, (3rd ed.). Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Hargrave, C. (2005). Homelessness in Canada: from housing to shelters to blankets . Web.

Hurley, J. (2002 ). The homeless: opposing viewpoints . San Diego: Greenhaven Press.

Kirst, M., Schaefer-McDaniel, N., & Hwang, S.(2010). Converging disciplines: a transdisciplinary research approach to urban health problems. New York: Springer. pp.60-100.

Leo, C. (2005). The federal government and homelessness: community initiative or dictation from above? Toronto: Canadian Centre Policy Alternatives. pp.5-20.

Levinson, D. (2004) Encyclopedia of homelessness. London: SAGE. pp.50-100.

Springer, S. (2000). Homelessness: a proposal for a global definition and classification . Atlanta, GA: Habitat International. pp. 475 – 484.

Thompson, D. (2007). What do the published figures tell us about homelessness in Australia, Sydney : Australian journal of social issues 32(3). pp. 102-315.

Tipple, G., & Speak. (2010). The hidden millions: homelessness in developing countries. London: Routledge.pp.50-100.

Watson, S., & Austenberry, H. (1986). Housing and homelessness: a feminist perspective. London: Routledge.pp.25-150.

Zima, B. T. et al. (1994). Emotional and behavioral problems and severe academic delays among sheltered homeless children in Los Angeles County . New York: AJPH, 84, pp. 260-264.

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