Having a home is one of the most essential things for each person. It provides security and confidence in the modern world. Unfortunately, with the rapid growth of the planet’s population, the percentage of the homeless people is growing as well. Individuals face this issue more often nowadays, and some actions should be taken in order to prevent the further development of this problem. All around the world, people without permanent housing suffer from the social, economic, and personal inconveniences. Many reasons cause the phenomenon of homelessness. Moreover, the outcome of this process also influences many factors of personal and social life of human beings who experience this issue.
The definition of the notion “homelessness” varies in each country. Nevertheless, the general meaning states that it is a condition of an individual without permanent habitation, such as a house or flat. A person may be considered as being homeless if he or she spends nights not on the streets but also in different shelters, trailers, or motels. According to the statistics, all over the world, there are approximately 100 million people defined as homeless. Over 1 billion individuals live as refugees or in the temporary shelters (“The 15 Most Homeless Cities in the World”). The highest rate of homeless people is in Manila, the Philippines: there are about 70,000 people who cannot afford a permanent place of living. Moreover, there are more than 1 million children all around the country who need a permanent dwelling. Unfortunately, the Philippines is not the only state with the high rate of homelessness. Being one of the most powerful countries in the world with well-developed economic and social lives, the USA faces the problem of homelessness as well. Such states as New York, California, Arizona, and Massachusetts have the highest rates of homelessness people. Speaking about homelessness in Europe and Asia, such countries as Hungary, Greece, Russia, and India take the leading places. The importance of the problem lies in the essential influence of the homelessness on the social, economic, and cultural lives of the nations and communities. Moreover, the problem needs some solution since the rate of homeless people rises every day, hence resulting in huge expenses and efforts made by the governments and local communities.
People lose their housing due to various reasons and factors. Sometimes, these factors are personal, and sometimes, some external circumstances influence the people’s lives and push them on the streets. The parameters may be divided into structural factors, system failures, and individual issues. Among the most common structural factors that cause homelessness is low income or unemployment. The cost of life increases every day. The apartment rent, taxes, and prices for food become higher. Consequently, the number of people who cannot afford a permanent housing increases.
Speaking about the individual issues, it is worth saying that many homeless people leave their homes due to the family and relationship problems. Emotional breakdowns push people to move to other places without any assurance. Moreover, the domestic violence as well as physical or sexual abuse also may be a reason of homelessness. The role of drugs and alcohol is crucial in various social and economic problems. The homelessness is not the exception. Together with other factors, such as gambling or different kinds of addiction, alcohol and drugs may become not only the causes of the individual’s homelessness but also a reason why a person remains without any permanent place to live in. Besides, family instability may also be one of the reasons of this problem. In this case, people cannot cope with the problem alone, and they need some external help and support. As for the system failures, the examples may be inadequate support of refugees and immigrants or people who leave hospitals, prisons, or rehabilitation centers.
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While analyzing the economic factors that may influence homelessness, it should be said that economy plays a crucial role why people find themselves on the streets without any shelter. The first place goes to the poverty. Country’s economic policy cannot provide individuals with the appropriate working places and the adequate payment. Consequently, humans are not able to pay for their living; in other words, they are not able to pay bills, pay for the accommodations, and pay for food. Hence, they lose their houses and flats, thus appearing on the streets. The income gap between the poor and rich is the result of the inappropriate economic policy. Besides, there is a significant increase of woman with children who become homeless or live in the poverty.
While examining the structural factors that influence the rate of homelessness, the special attention should be paid to the wage rate. The factor of income is directly connected with the poverty rate. The minimum wage should provide a person with the ability to pay for the most needed things, such as housing and food. Nevertheless, the most of homeless people are from the working class. Consequently, their wages and salaries are not enough for supporting the minimum requirements for the living. Of course, it cannot be stated that only low income is the reason of homelessness, as there are other factors that influence a person’s ability to fend for themselves. The point is that the cost of living and the rate of income play an important role in an individual’s opportunity to pay for living and escape homelessness.
One more economic issue that affects the homelessness rate is employment. The possibility of the country to provide its citizens with workplaces shows its economic development and ability to help individuals survive. Capitalism may be concerned as a problematic issue in the process of economic development and escaping homelessness. In other words, changes that lead to the economic transformation and result in the integration into the world economy cause the increasing number of people who lose their working places. Most of those individuals that previously worked in the manufacturing sector can find the places in the service sector. Though, the rate of the payment drops. Moreover, the inflation and the rise of prices make people unable to pay for living. According to Weinberger, “these realities mean that more and more people have become incapable of earning enough, even with several jobs, to provide themselves with the basic provisions of life”. Consequently, these factors make the workers’ lives more difficult, thus moving them closer to the homelessness.
The constant scientific and economic development also may influence the homelessness rate. The great amount of scientific researches and implementations of new technologies demand the constant learning and self-improvement. In addition, the entry-level position requires higher skills and more experience from an individual. It demands time and money from a person to study, as their previous specialization may appear out-of-date. Therefore, influenced by the scientific and industrial progress, the people’s ability to find a well-paid job drops down. The mechanization of the manufacturing process affects the job market. As the result, many people cannot find the job to earn for living, and the rate of unemployment increases.
Another economic issue that affects the rate of homelessness is the lack of rehabilitation centers for people who experience family violence or suffer from sexual and physical abuse. In such problematic situations, individuals must get a proper help and support. Unfortunately, the number of centers and shelter are not enough to provide all the victims with the necessary provision and help. Besides, there are people who are depended on the medical and healthcare centers. Due to the system failures, many of them have no place to go after the session ends. The economic and social tendency in the modern world may be defined as every person for himself. It is worth mentioning Braiterman et al.’s statement that, “The rate of homelessness in a community can be an important factor in its economic prosperity and a key determinant for the health of the community.” The community and the state prefer to pay more attention to the economic development rather than the social issues.
Speaking about the solutions of the homelessness problem, there are several ways that may decrease the number of homeless people. The first thing is that all homeless individuals need housing. Therefore, creating and building temporary shelters can solve the problem only for some time. The low-cost housing should be offered for human beings who cannot afford a house or flat. Besides, some state social programs should allow a person to pay for the housing by installments. Moreover, the programs must coordinate the process of people’s housing together with the employment. Providing homeless people with jobs can help solving the problem due to person’s ability to earn for living and supplying themselves with the basic provision, such as housing and food. Therefore, the low-cost houses together with the job provision are one of the possible solutions. In addition, it is worth mentioning that the minimum wage rising would prevent many people from becoming homeless.
Another idea of the homelessness solution lies in the creation of various supporting centers to deal with the issues of health, education, family relations, and different kinds of addictions. Such centers should provide people with the necessary help and support. Very often, individuals become homeless due to the lack of such facilities. Human beings do not have a place to spend a night in, or they do not know where to address in case of sexual or physical abuse as well as family violence. Hence, it follows that the lack of information also plays an important role in the solution of the homelessness problem. The proper spread of the necessary information may prevent many people from becoming or remaining homeless. It is a good idea to organize fairs where homeless people may get the information about supporting centers, job vacancies, temporary shelters, and state supporting programs.
Nowadays, there are many cases when people become homeless due to some breakdown in relations or mental disorders. In this case, the way to prevent individuals from becoming homeless is to socialize them. Modern society tends to ignore personal problems. Therefore, many human beings appear alone, thus facing the problems that may lead to homelessness. The solution lies in the social propaganda of paying attention to people who may need some help and support. Another point of homelessness prevention is to train young workers. Young persons who are at the risk groups of potential homeless should be involved in the training programs in order to obtain necessary experience and labor skills.
To conclude, homelessness in many countries has different meanings. The general notion of this term means the lack of permanent housing. Nowadays, there are approximately 100 million people all around the world defined as homeless. The country with the highest rate of homelessness is the Philippines. The USA takes one of the leading places in the world concerning the number of homeless individuals despite the developed economy. The factors that may cause homelessness are structural factors, individual factors, and system failures. The structural factors include low income and unemployment. The individual factors include family violence, sexual or physical abuse, and relationship breakdown. System failures concern the inadequate support for immigrants and refugees or people who leave medical and health centers, prisons, or rehabilitation centers.
The most important economic issues that have a great influence on the homelessness rate are poverty, wage rate, and the cost of living. The economic and scientific development also affects the number of homeless people who cannot find a job in order to pay for their living. The solutions of the homelessness problem include the provision of homeless people with housing and jobs. Besides, spreading information about different social programs that help and support those who suffer from family violence, sexual and physical abuse, drug or alcohol addiction, and mental disorders plays a crucial role in the homelessness prevention and ending.