Homelessness in America – S.L. Smith
Homelessness in America is a serious problem. I believe that our government does not take this problem as serious as it should. When I moved to Florida 15 years ago I noticed a few homeless people here and there. It is an every day occurrence for me now on my way to work. There should be more funding for these people to live like the rest of us. It irritates me to see all of the money that we supply the space program with and we have homeless and starving people here on Earth.
I think that most people are appalled by the sight of homeless and ignore them. It seems to me that most people think that being homeless is the homeless persons fault. Recently, I noticed two men sitting on a curb holding sign saying that they would work for food. I stopped at a fast food restaurant and bought them something to eat. I don’t have any work to give them, but offered them some advice as to where the local social service office was. In my conversation with them I learned that the help that they could receive was limited as they lived in the woods and had no legal address. I was also informed that there was a very small list of homeless shelters and that they were at capacity. It seems so wrong that these people have to live this way. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, there were 754,000 homeless people across America and for almost half of these people there were not enough beds to go around. Of these homeless people, nearly half were single adult men. Eitzen, D.S., Zinn, M.B., & Smith, K. E. (2009). Social Problems (11th Edition). United States: Pearson Education.
For the homeless, the consequences are many. Most of the homeless do not have jobs, although a study in 2007 performed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that 17.4% of homeless adults in families were employed while 13% of homeless single adults or unaccompanied youth were employed. National Coalition for the Homeless. (2007, August) Health Care and Homeless. Program and Policy Issues. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/health.html
Without employment people go without food and medicine. Although there are some programs in place to help with these issues, it is hard for them to receive help without a valid address. Homeless children experience many health difficulties. Nine million children in the United States don’t have health insurance. U.S. Bureau of the Census. (2007). Health Insurance Coverage.
Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www.census.gov Children without insurance, compared with children who do, are more likely to go without proper medical attention when needed and are more likely to go without much needed prescriptions. I think that our government should come up with some type of bill that makes sure that every person in the United States has some type of health coverage. The easier it is for people to get medical attention the healthier we are as a society and the stronger some may be to work and pay rent. Along with that, I think it is necessary for our government to make sure that there is affordable housing all over for the poorest of people and some sort of financial assistance to help them get on their feet. In some states General Assistance is available for the poorest of single people, but it has been cut from several states because of cut backs our government has made despite the evidence that receiving General Assistance reduces homelessness. National Coalition for the Homeless. (2007, August) Health Care and Homeless. Program and Policy Issues. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/health.html I think it is wrong to cut this when so many people need it. Our government officials are the ones holding the bag of money, so to speak, so I think that they should find a solution to this ever growing problem.
If I were to try to solve this problem, I would first cut some programs out of the budget or at least put them on hold for a few years so the problem of homelessness could be taken better care of. I would first try to figure out a way to make sure that there were enough shelters and half way houses for these people coming off the streets. I think that I would try to figure out a way to teach these people how to take care of themselves and be productive in society if they needed a little bit of guidance. The General Assistance grant would have to be available in every state. I think that this is so important for people that have no other means of supporting themselves, until they get back on their feet. Our government helps people coming from other countries coming here to live, and I think that it should help the ones that already live here.
Since I started this research paper, I have talked to several people in my circle of friends about the topic. I think that it is interesting that we all feel very compassionate about getting these people help, but don’t know exactly what to do and how to go about it. Sure, a soup kitchen here and there is great. And donating money to charity to help the homeless is a start, but we all agree that there has to be more government involvement. As stated by my friend, Debbie, “We are so quick to tell other countries how to run their governments and how to treat their citizens. In the past, we have sent so much money to other countries to help them rebuild and take care of their homeless, displaced citizens. What we should be doing is cleaning up our own back yard and minding to our own citizens”. In my opinion, I could have not said it better.
Eitzen, D.S., Zinn, M.B., & Smith, K.E. (2009). Social Problems (11th Edition). United States: Pearson Education
National Coalition for the Homeless. (2007, August) Health Care and Homeless. Program and Policy Issues. Retrieved March 16,2009, from http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/health.html
U.S. Bureau of the Census. (2007). Health Insurance Coverage. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www.census.gov