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Homelessness in America Essay

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The problem that we face in America today is homelessness, homelessness has paved its way through society since the early 20th century and is still present today. As a society, not only have we neglected the care of our people but we have neglected our community as well. With that being said, I am here to shed light on a problem our community faces which is homelessness. Although many factors contribute to the issue; I will discuss how economic problems play a big role in homelessness. Upon that, I will discuss the types of policies enacted in California to address the problem, to its effectiveness alongside state and local legislation in California that is currently trying to be proposed to decrease homelessness rates.

As mentioned before, homelessness has become a big issue in the United States; it has become persistent and complex as it’s been occurring more frequently than before due to Economic change. From Housing, low-income rates, employment, and overpopulation; these outcomes have become the focal point of an increased population of homelessness. In fact, the effects of rising rents, Globalization and Urbanization shed light on the issue. According to a 2017 Annual Homelessness report, about “553,742 people experience homelessness on a given night, where Two Thirds represent individuals, and the remaining represent families” and it doesn’t stop there; researchers state that it’s a “chronic pattern” meaning that a lot of these individuals/families are in and out of the system and it could potentially be permanent because as urbanization gets larger there becomes a cultural and economic change between ethnic groups. in fact, due to Globalization and Urbanization, it allowed for industrial change; innovations like “technology, cultural fusion, and global trade benefits with larger populations” has brought “positive” and tremendous growth; but, not to the less fortunate but more so to the wealthy. These economic changes have brought forth “financial hubs” alongside with establishing a “Housing Crisis” within small communities and rural cities like “New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Los Angeles” which allowed the rise in rent and an increase of income inequality as cities are getting larger and industries are beginning to grow at a rapid paste.

For this reason, policies have been enacted to stop and target these-problems, to demonstrate; one example was The Housing Act of 1937 (The Wagner-Steagall Act) provided for “subsidies to be paid from the U.S. government to local public housing agencies” which was able to improve the living conditions for any low-income families. It also created the “United States Housing Authority within the US Department of the interior.” Another accomplished act was the P.L. 100-77: The Major Homeless Aid Bill of the 100th congress, H.R. 558, the Stewart B. McKinney Homelessness Assistance Act of 1987 signed into law on July 23, 1987, alongside with a supplemental appropriations bill authorizing most of the funds to establish a “supportive housing program of at least $20 million which would assist projects that serve homeless families and at least $15 million projects for permanent housing for the handicapped’ and it doesn’t stop there. Although we are in a constant battle whether or not to enact certain policies we have managed to propose different types of aid for instance, the S. 1106- Rent Relief Act of 2019 and S. 787- American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2019 which is an aim to address the affordable housing crisis in order to help low income individuals.

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Furthermore; we still have managed to accomplish some legislative efforts and propose new ones each year like The House Financial Services Committee which introduced four draft bills that aimed in addressing both homelessness and affordable housing that would allow to make new investments within the “federal housing program and expand eligibility for US department of veterans affairs (VA) services which would promote coordination of homelessness programs across federal agencies.” Amongst this, it would target the problem (homelessness and affordable housing) and address it throughout the communities and legislation which could then establish efforts within the county and evidently coincide with additional federal programs like the “U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH)” which could help counties that have individuals who are at risk of homelessness. Overall, it is clear to state that some initiatives have been effective but not to a full extent as some policies have been enacted but not fully proposed we are still trying to find solutions to aid the homelessness crisis.

In regards to out of the state initiatives towards homelessness, the government of Canada has taken-action to address the cause of homelessness in rural areas in a different manner. tactics like the promotion of corporations between government, communities, private sectors, and non-profit-organization allow solutions by providing initiatives with local and private funding as various organizations are providing a hand. In fact, in my opinion, it is interesting to see how the problem is being tackled, the community itself feeds off of the community; more so, Hulchanski (2009) it’s a tactic done to diminish homelessness rates since the problem submerged not long ago. to continue, Individuals also established a “Pivot organization” that mandates and takes “strategic approach to social change” by using laws implemented to address root causes of issues (Dives 2016) for example, “Canada recognizes the right to an adequate standard of living for homeless people and the right to adequate housing.” “Canada ensures close cooperation’s among all relevant stakeholders, including social, health, law enforcement and justice professionals at all levels.” And lastly “Canada amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on homelessness and social conditions and work with subnational governments to incorporate similar amendments into provincial and territorial human rights legislation.” With this in mind, it reiterates how committees and government officials address homeless and housing programs, they manage to institute laws to improve anti-discrimination legislation in both sectors and so far, have been succeeding as adequate support services are being initiated.

In conclusion, the Homelessness crisis will always be fluctuating from current laws that have been enacted to others trying to be proposed, it’s a problem that we have dealt with for decades. We have managed to see the success and failures not just within California but with other countries as well as to try to decrease homelessness rates and for the most part, have been successful to some extent. Homelessness will always be a topic talked about, as new laws emerge we hope for a simple solution but as of right now and with community efforts we have managed to serve the less fortunate by providing shelter units, food drives and many more operations for they too can sustain a fairly good living in the time being.

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