The Causes of Homelessness that People Should be More Aware of

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DateThe Causes of Homelessness that People Should be More Aware ofHomelessness is a significant social and public health issue in the US that has recently been given substantial attention by policymakers, clinicians, researchers, and administrators (Tsai et al. 113). Homelessness refers to a lack of permanent accommodation (Mabhala et al. 2). A homeless person can also be described as a person whose main nighttime residence is; (i) a publicly operated or a supervised shelter intended to offer temporary living accommodations (examples include congregate shelters, welfare hotels, and transitioning houses for people with mental illnesses); (ii) an institute that offers a temporary residence for people designed to be institutionalized; or (iii) a private or public place not ordinarily used as, or intended for, a regular sleeping accommodation for people (Institute of Medicine Staff, n.p). Research reveals that seventeen out of every 10,000 people living in the US experience homelessness (Alpert 295). In 2019, the US had over 500,000 homeless individuals, with Florida, West Coast, New York, and Southwest haing the highest numbers of homeless people (Alpert 295). The author further urges that the homelessness situation in Los Angeles is rapidly deteriorating, and the state had approximately 40,000 homeless people as of 2021. The number was significantly high compared to other states, such as Florida and Texas, where there were 28,000 and 25,000 homeless people, respectively (Alpert 295).

Researchers have established a relationship between social factors and homelessness. The most common causes of homelessness center on seven major categories of deprivation: education, income, employment, skills and training, crime, health and disability, and social support services (Mabhala et al. 2). This paper aims to shed light on some of the causes of homelessness that the general public should be aware of. Some causes of homelessness that more people should be aware of are the lack of basic life skills that are considered essential in society, the reality of rental discrimination when it comes to marginalized individuals, and the lack of financial resources necessary to afford housing.

One major cause of homelessness that people should be more aware of is the lack of basic life skills. In a study to examine the causes and effects of homelessness, Alowaimer (1) identified lack of training or education as a major cause of homelessness. According to the author, lack of education denies homeless people an opportunity to acquire important life skills (Alowaimer 1). Such basic life skills include the ability to manage money. Homeless people are faced with many challenges, making them quit school or attend them irregularly. For instance, most homeless people are poor and cannot afford the cost of education (Alowaimer 1). Also, lack of education denies homeless people financial literacy skills. Research reveals that people with financial literacy tend to be effective in the way they utilize their money, such as saving money, budgeting, investing and paying their bills on time (Dwiastanti 99). Since homeless people are not equipped with these skills, it becomes a challenge for them to effectively manage their money. They end up misusing their money which leaves them poor. Due to poverty, homeless families are forced to live in unstable houses where rent is cheap (Alowaimer 1). Generally, it is evident that a lack of basic life skills contributes to homelessness. Therefore, people must become aware of this cause of homelessness since, although it is a very common cause of homelessness, it is not commonly acknowledged by researchers as a significant cause of homelessness.

Rental discrimination is another cause of homelessness that people should be more aware. Research reveals that housing discrimination has continued to be a significant problem in the US even after the Fair Housing Act was enacted. Roughly 4 million individuals in the US experience rental discrimination every year (Friedman 99). On a different note, Rosen (787) claims that gatekeepers such as landlords in the housing industry are confronted with a racially divergent applicant pool but end up selecting applicants from the same race. Yinger (99) further urges that the US has faced the corrosive impacts of race-restrictive covenants, racial zoning, and the unwillingness of the majority of property owners together with their agents to serve individuals viewed as different from the White majority. This has made it difficult to ensure equal opportunity and fair treatment as mandated by the Fair Housing Act since property owners and other participants in the housing market are able to deny or restrict access to housing on the basis of membership in a so-called protected class, defined by color, origin, religion, race, or nationality (Yinger 99). When rental discrimination is practiced by gatekeepers such as landlords, people who are considered different from the White majority end up becoming homeless since house shortage is a significant problem in the US. This is because these people are not prioritized when applying for houses; hence, they lack houses. Research reveals that researchers pay little attention to the issue of discrimination when it comes to access to housing (Bunel 65). Thus, rental discrimination is rarely recognized as a cause of homelessness in the US. As the US continues to find ways of reducing homelessness, it is important that people get aware that rental discrimination is among the major causes of homelessness, although scholars rarely examine this factor.

Lastly, lack of financial resources to afford to house is another cause of homelessness that people should be more aware of. Johnsen examined the link between poverty and homeless and concluded that poverty had been universally recognized as a significant contributor to homelessness in the US (5). Research reveals empirical evidence is so compelling and consistent that individuals would disprove the claim that poverty is a key contributor to homelessness, given that poverty restricts people’s capacity to mobilize resources needed to address a housing crisis (Johnsen 5). The author further adds that some scholars have gone to the extent of considering homelessness a form of poverty itself. Also, supporting the idea that lack of financial resources contributes to homelessness, Mabhala et al. (2), in their study where that examined the social conditions for becoming homeless, stated that income deprivation is the highest risk factor of homelessness. The author explains that poor people lack affordable housing, which renders them homeless. Supporting this point, Muniz (2) further add that poverty contributes to homelessness since intense economic disadvantage creates the ideal conditions for the occurrence and concealment of homelessness episodes without promoting the creation of clearly defined solutions that promote emancipation from the homelessness crisis.

Overall, this essay discusses some of the major causes of homelessness that more people should be aware of. Among these causes are the lack of basic life skills, rental discrimination, and lack of financial resources necessary to afford housing. In order to minimize the issue of homelessness, it is important to first deal with these major causes, which so far have been given little attention. This may include providing education and training to homeless people on basic life skills such as how to manage money, ensuring that landlords and their agents adhere to the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, and providing employment opportunities to homeless people to enable them to acquire adequate financial resources to redeem themselves from lack of housing.

Works Cited

Alowaimer, Osama. “Causes, effects, and issues of homeless people.” Journal Of Socialomics 7.03 (2018): 1-4. 72/2167-0358.1000223Alpert, Joseph S. “Homeless in America.” The American Journal of Medicine 134.3 (2021): 295-296., Mathieu, et al. “Ethnic discrimination in the rental housing market: an experiment in New Caledonia.” International Regional Science Review 42.1 (2019): 65-97., Anis. “Financial Literacy as the Foundation for Individual Financial Behavior.” Journal of Education and Practice 6.33 (2015): 99-105.

Friedman, Samantha. “Commentary: Housing discrimination research in the 21st century.” Cityscape 17.3 (2015): 143-150.

Institute of Medicine Staff. Homelessness, health and human needs. National Academies Press, 1988.

Johnsen, Sarah, and Beth Watts. “Homelessness and Poverty: reviewing the links.” Paper presented at the European Network for Housing Research (ENHR) conference. Vol. 1. 2014.

Mabhala, Mzwandile A., Asmait Yohannes, and Mariska Griffith. “Social conditions of becoming homelessness: qualitative analysis of life stories of homeless peoples.” International journal for equity in health 16.1 (2017): 1-16., Paul. “On the Relationship between Poverty Segregation and Homelessness in the American City and Suburb.” Socius 7 (2021): 1-18., Eva, Philip ME Garboden, and Jennifer E. Cossyleon. “Racial discrimination in housing: how landlords use algorithms and home visits to screen tenants.” American Sociological Review 86.5 (2021): 787-822., Jack, Thomas O’Toole, and Lisa K. Kearney. “Homelessness is a public mental health and social problem: New knowledge and solutions.” Psychological services 14.2 (2017): 113., John. “Sustaining the fair housing act.” Cityscape (1999): 93-106.