Are you getting some snow this week? It’s supposed to snow pretty hard. It’s a beautiful thing really, nature’s way of cleansing itself. When I think about snow, I imagine myself curled up by the fireplace with a good book.

Although, today when I stepped out onto my patio I couldn’t help but imagine all of the people who didn’t have a place to stay. I was wrapped around in a blanket, all warm. What is the difference between us and them? What did they do to deserve all of this? Not only where I live, but it is estimated that 150 million people are homeless worldwide.

Habitat for Humanity “estimated in 2015 that 1.6 billion people around the world live in ‘inadequate shelter’(Wikipedia Contributors, 2021)”.

Two homeless people and their dog were stationed at the corner of Dock and 14th streets in Richmond on Oct. 31.

Through my research, I have found the top main causes of homelessness:

  1. Affordable housing

In places where people want to live, especially places with jobs, land is very expensive — then add labor and materials. For extremely low-income households, the total cost of building housing means that it will simply not be affordable without a subsidy.

2. Unemployment

The level of unemployment varies with economic conditions and other circumstances. The causes of unemployment include increased population, rapid technological change, lack of education or skills and rising costs lead to financial, social, and psychological problems. The picture below compares what many promise, a guaranteed job, to reality. It is an illustration that describes specifically our situation during the pandemic.

© Ingram Pinn/Financial Times

3. Lack of needed services

In many places, people do not have access to services like shelters, food, affordable healthcare, and more. For example, the national council says, “The majority (64%) of Americans who have sought treatment believe the U.S. government needs to do more to improve mental health services(New Study Reveals Lack of Access as Root Cause for Mental Health Crisis in America — National Council, 2019).

What can homelessness do to the world in the future?

Lack of Education is a huge consequence of Homelessness and poverty. If children do not attend school (I have discussed this topic further in one of my previous blogs), it can affect our future generation. With no education, many companies will not hire therefore leading to more unemployment. Unemployment can then lead to family, relationships, and mental health problems. Further, this individual will experience isolation and may increase the chances of taking drugs.

Homelessness can often have a negative impact on local communities. I know from one study on the experiences of homeless people with complex problems, that there is a:

  • 77% chance that someone could sleep rough
  • 53% chance that someone could be involved in street drinking
  • 32% chance that someone could beg

Among the negative societal consequences of homelessness, its potential environmental impacts are largely unconsidered. According to sawpa.org, “results showed elevated volumes of trash and occurrences of anthropogenic alteration in the areas of the riparian zone most heavily used by the homeless population” (White & Ling, n.d.).

Are there any current efforts to stop this, and what can I do as an individual?

Endhomlessness.org is confident that we can end homelessness in America. The site states, “We’ve made progress because the federal government has promoted evidence-based approaches — and because Congress has long recognized that homelessness is a bipartisan issue, harming individuals and rural, urban, and suburban communities. But the housing shortage and rising rents in communities across the nation are direct threats to the progress we’ve made. Advocates must call on Congress to maintain a commitment to ending homelessness. (Policy — National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2020)”

Although, there are many things we as individuals can do to turn the effects of poverty around. Going back to my introduction, this weekend, you can donate food, blankets, and clothing to your local charity or homeless shelter. If you are the right age you can even volunteer to help those in need. Even small donations can help. We need to take small steps to our incoming future to stop homelessness and poverty altogether.

Resources

Wikipedia Contributors. (2021, February 7). List of countries by homeless population. Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_homeless_population#:~:text=This%20is%20the%20latest%20accepted,live%20in%20%22inadequate%20shelter%22.

Kalimah Redd Knight. (2020, June 3). The lack of affordable housing is getting worse in the U.S. Phys.org; Phys.org. https://phys.org/news/2020-06-lack-housing-worse.html#:~:text=Why%20does%20it%20seem%20so,be%20affordable%20without%20a%20subsidy.

The Effects and Causes of Unemployment. (2020). UKEssays.com. https://www.ukessays.com/essays/economics/the-effects-and-causes-of-unemployment-economics-essay.php

New Study Reveals Lack of Access as Root Cause for Mental Health Crisis in America — National Council. (2019). National Council. https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/press-releases/new-study-reveals-lack-of-access-as-root-cause-for-mental-health-crisis-in-america/

‌White, C., & Ling, C. (n.d.). . https://www.sawpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/SAWPAComm_Handouts_051518.pdf

Impact of homelessness. (2011). Homeless Link. https://www.homeless.org.uk/facts/understanding-homelessness/impact-of-homelessness

Policy — National Alliance to End Homelessness. (2020, July 16). National Alliance to End Homelessness. https://endhomelessness.org/ending-homelessness/policy/

Hi! I'm a young scientist passionate about bringing awareness to poverty and changing people's mindsets! Thank you for checking out my posts!