What's It Like to be Homeless?

Homelessness is a worldwide problem. While the estimate by the United Nations in 2005 says that there are approximately 100 million homeless in the world, that number is more then likely grossly underestimated. Of course these numbers do not include those living in homes that are living in substandard living conditions, such as abandoned building, tents, or vehicles.

Image result for number of people that are homeless

In the U.S. alone a developed nation that holds less then 10% of the population, there are ~ 600,000 homeless at one given time, according to  a figure from 2012 made by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Many people go to bed at night not knowing where they are going to sleep the next night, and many times not knowing when the next time they are going to get to eat.

There are many reasons why someone may become homeless, including, poor urban planning, financial difficulties, drug addiction, and mental illness.

Often times those released after committing a felony are incapable of finding a job where they can support themselves and their families.

Often times these individuals have no where to turn, sometimes will begin committing crimes, while other nonviolent homeless people will often group together in the woods, under bridges and a variety of other places setting up their own communities. Often times they will live in tents, vehicles and abandoned buildings.

Many of them do not have access to health care, thankfully there are many individuals that are willing to help these people. If you are stuck in a situation please visit a Homeless Mission Center.

You can find a homeless centers here Homeless Shelter Directory, and you can help us build up our directory in our Find Homeless Centers section.


How did Homelessness get so bad?

In third world countries, homelessness is mostly due to widespread violence, economic grievances, poor healthcare, corrupt politics, and a lack of resources.

In the United States when Reagan cut spending for mental institutions, many had to go to the streets almost instantly becoming homeless. This impacted high population area’s the worse, the increase in homelessness, and mentally unstable people in high population area’s, led to soaring rises in violence, gang, activity and drug use.

These homeless men and women were drove into the already struggling lower middle class areas. With the drug war instituted by Nixon, there was lack of rehabilitation centers for those who generally wanted to get better, but an increase in police force. Due to the increase in police forces there was less funding available for public schools, work programs, and various other services that could have helped change these cities for the better.

This led to a population with higher incarceration rates, lower education levels, and increased risk of becoming homeless.  With this increase in violence and poor social programs, lower housing rates and property values followed, but in this struggling society fueled through drug addiction and violence many still lost there homes to the banks.

In return these banks remodeled the land for high middle class homes, which then increased property values in the area making it harder for lower middle class citizens to pay the bills.

Homelessness impacts every country in our world. Most homeless populations live in tents, homeless shelters, on the streets, and sometimes in homeless communities. Sometimes it’s due to the lack of work, however many homeless people can often have poor mental health, disabilities, and may be addicted to drugs. With their living arrangements they often don’t have access to clean water or sanitary conditions.

Homelessness Reform

Homelessness is a epidemic, it limits our ability as a society to move forward. It’s very important to remember that people do need to take responsibility for their actions, but to always take into account, that our society is the reason that we are facing such problems.

How Do We prevent Homelessness?

We must change the way our society works.

Most people are homeless due to poverty, mental illness, or drug addiction. Many people that are homeless need to be rehabilitated or provided with a job.

While the U.S. government has a system of checks and balances, between its branches. Yet we have failed to set up such a system between corporations, and people.

We have made it harder to receive an education in new fields, while simultaneously lowering worker wages through inflation.

We need to establish working programs, where people are paid livable wages, and provided with health care services that cover them, and their children.

If corporations worked together with the Federal Reserve and Legislative branch, of our governments, we would have higher wages and lower work hours. If there are not enough jobs, to supply people, we could easily lower the average number of working hours, allowing more people to have a job.

Health Problems

Health problems are often a cause and result, of being homeless. Many people who do not have health insurance when faced with an illness in the family can lose their job. The 2007 United States Census Bureau calculated that 45.7 million Americans (15.3% of the population) do not have health insurance.

Those that are incapable of getting of getting high paying jobs are more likely to not have health insurance. Of course, they’re are also more likely to not have a college education, and make poorer health choices for them and their families.

So when they or a family memeber have medical condition they may spend all their money on diagnosis and treatment, and then be left incapable of paying their mortgage, or rent. This family member may be a child, or parent.  An estimated 10.5% of American children under the age of six do not have health insurance.

Once a person becomes homeless it is increasingly difficult for them to get a job and due to a lack food, toiletries, they are more likely to get a medical condition.

Yet if we had easier access to jobs, we could have free health diagnostics, before they receive jobs. In this day and age we should have the ability to walk into a worker program and receive a job that day.

Fun Fact: There are more than five times as many vacant homes in the U.S. as there are homeless people, according to Amnesty International USA.

Outside Resources:
Health Care and Homelessness
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
More Vacant Homes Then Homeless