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Functionalist Perspective on Homelessness

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Life brings along a lot of good and bad affairs. However, we try to focus on the good which brings us happiness, but the bad affair 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. This paper focuses on societal views to try to explain the issue of homelessness in the United States of America.

Structural functionalism considers homelessness as an element of both functional and dysfunctional states in society. The functionalist perspective works on the basis of consensus and cohesion within a society. The theory provides a macro view of society that is seen as a codependent system that influences one another in various ways. For example, the case of a dysfunctional family institution is among the leading causes of homelessness in the country. This may arise from issues like domestic abuse, where the roles of individuals within the family institution are not being fulfilled. This leads to dysfunction hence breakdown. The abused party may hence be forced to move and live in the streets or an emergency shelter hence homeless. Evidently, a social problem that affects a particular society should and must be perceived as a problem that affects a sample of the population and needs to be resolved.

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The conflict theory states that society is in a state of conflict due to scarce resources. According to the theory, capitalism is the main cause of homelessness. Capitalism creates power differences between the “haves” and the “have not’s” whereby the wealthy group gains control through power and competition hence can afford to live luxuriously. On the other hand, the poor are left homeless as they cannot pay the expensive housing prices in the country. Therefore, capitalism identifies the homeless as the losers in society.

In conclusion, homelessness is a major societal problem in the United States of America and is caused by a number of factors. From the above observations, it is evident that in as much as homelessness is caused by individual flaws, society also plays a big role in contributing to the issue. The government of the United States of America should therefore take charge to minimize the gap between the rich and the poor as well as finding ways to find ways to try to solve the individual flaws, like creating counseling groups to help solve the dysfunctional state.

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Functionalist Perspective on Homelessness. (2021, July 30). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“Functionalist Perspective on Homelessness.” Edubirdie, 30 Jul. 2021,
Functionalist Perspective on Homelessness. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2023].
Functionalist Perspective on Homelessness [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Jul 30 [cited 2023 Sept 22]. Available from:
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