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Have you ever seen the homeless lying down or begging on the street? You can easily find them near subway stations. Most people might have preconceptions of them due to their dirty appearances. Though, people don’t specifically know why they live outside. Nevertheless, it seems obvious that homelessness is an urgent problem to be eased. Then what is homelessness? Shortly, it is an individual or family lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (Penny). Homelessness is a complex problem that appears in different ways and affects health, safety, the economy, et cetera.
There are four types of homelessness. First, chronic homelessness is an individual who has been continuously homeless for more than a year or has had a minimum of four episodes of homelessness in the previous three years. Second, episodic homelessness is an individual who is currently homeless and has experienced at least three periods of homelessness in the previous year. Third, transitional homelessness, the most common type, generally enters a shelter or temporary housing system for a brief stay. Last, hidden homeless momentarily live with others and have no immediate prospects for getting permanent housing. They don’t appear in standard homelessness statistics because they don’t access homeless support and services (Jaggi).
Homelessness has many factors like loss of housing, unemployment, substance addiction, mental illness, and domestic violence (Geraghty). As the homeless undergo unstable circumstances, they suffer from a lot of hardships. First, most homelessness has health problems. Some of diseases, like cancer, are intractable or permanent. Plus, they are vulnerable to communicable diseases. As they can’t have fresh food, poor nutrition is another factor that damages their health. Decisively, the homeless have difficulty reaching hospitals and health services. Second, the homeless have psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders at high rates. Besides, the homeless drink or use drugs to forget their conditions and become addicted to substances. Third, many of the homeless commit crimes such as theft, murder, and kidnapping. They are used to violence as they have experienced it before (Alowaimer 2). Eventually, homelessness is not only an individual matter but also affects the surrounding communities financially and physically (Wurden).
Compelling homeless problems differ by country. For example, there is a lot of colleges homeless in the United States. College students become homeless as they can’t afford rising tuition and housing. They don’t have a fixed and regular place to sleep and temporarily stay with relatives or couch surf with friends. It leads them to be hidden homelessness (Jones). Next, Australia is suffering from youth homelessness. Around 40,000 people under 25 are homeless on any given night. It usually stems from mental illness and family violence (Afshariyan). In the Netherlands, homeless migrants come from different places via many different routes. The migrants rely on the kindness of strangers because they are not able to find work, buy food, or return home (Leveille). Since 2009, the number of homeless with a non-Western migration background almost tripled in 2018, from 6,500 to 18,300. They take up to nearly half of the homeless adults in the Netherlands (Pieters). Furthermore, there are more homeless problems such as women homelessness and LGBT homelessness worldwide.
Then how could homelessness be reduced? First of all, the homeless should be able to get adequate accommodation. For instance, in South Korea, the country’s state-run developer called the LH Corporation has been providing rental homes at low prices to the homeless. Minimum money should be saved for a deposit before they move in (Yim). Even though it is hard for the homeless to get a job, they can earn money through common workshops that require simple operations. This helps the homeless to stand on their own feet. Additionally, the government should understand an individual’s different needs for the efficiency of programs. It is important to talk to each individual to understand their features and provide them with customized support including housing, job education, medical services, et cetera. What’s more, trust and respect are essential for the homeless to participate continuously in the programs. If workers meet the homeless regularly and develop close relationships with them, barriers that the homeless often build around them could be broken. Nonetheless, situations would not get better unless bad preconceptions of homelessness are changed. People are likely to think that the homeless don’t want to work, drink a lot, and do something bad. However, the worker argues that these images are made from only a small percentage of the homeless population and others do nothing harmful. Most of them are eager to work for proper wages in general, but opportunities are not given to them easily (Kim).
In conclusion, homelessness is a global issue that can be divided into chronic, episodic, transitional, and hidden homelessness. It has different causes including loss of housing, unemployment, substance addiction, mental illness, and domestic violence. The homeless undergo health problems, mental illness, and crimes. It costs surrounding communities a lot of expenses to ease consequences. Also, urgent homeless problems differ by country like college, youth, migrant, women, and LGBT homelessness. To reduce homelessness efficiently, the government should make policies that provide adequate accommodation, understand individuals’ different needs, help workers build close relationships with the homeless, and change bad preconceptions of the homeless. (871 words)
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