Homelessness is seen as a controversial subject that statistics show is on the increase. This makes homelessness a problem in society that cannot be ignored. Firstly, let us examine some of the causes of homelessness and views about the homeless and from the homeless. Also, let us examine some initiatives that may help or solve the problem of homelessness. After extensive research, it can be seen that there are many reasons for becoming homeless such as: family problems, debt, drink and drug abuse and arguments in a family.
Some people who become homeless are homeless because of debt. This happens when people do not have enough money and have to borrow loans which they cannot pay back. This can lead to homelessness. The following quotes are taken from case studies of some homeless people; they tell us how their personal situations lead to homelessness. Mary, who is a “bag lady” is in her early fifties and cannot remember how long she has been homeless:
Homelessness Discursive Essay Example
“I‘m like this because everyone died… I could get away without working because of the benefits… Mum died first then dad gave up a few years later… Benefits stopped… I wanted to live a bit so spent more than I had… I said I was here because everyone died but it‘s really because of debt. ” Mary’s homelessness was caused by her spending more than she had and therefore she was forced onto the streets. Mary was offered advice but she did not take it so her only alternative was to live on the streets as she had no family left or around her to offer any practical help.
Subsequently, studies have shown that homelessness is experienced by younger people as well as older people. Let us consider Kelly, who is seventeen years old and is homeless in Aberdeen: “My mum was told by my step dad that I could stay till my family allowance ran out. I didn‘t go back to school when I turned sixteen so the benefit stopped. He was as good as his word. I went to my gran‘s first… gran saw me as one of my mum‘s problems… When I first came to Aberdeen it was to stay
with a friend… I tried hostels so I had an address to apply for jobs but I didn‘t get the jobs because of my appearance… I never looked right for the job… People won‘t believe that someone can just put you out of your own home but that‘s what happened. ” Kelly became homeless because her step dad put her out of her own home. As a consequence of this, Kelly became homeless. This case shows that even with family around them young people can be vulnerable and can suffer. Kelly had no real alternative but to leave home.
Society views the homeless in a very stereotypical way’s the following people show. Karen, who is twenty eight is a young mum with a part time job and has lived in a small town all her life, explains why she thinks people become homeless: “I will cross the road before I would pass them… I used to go to college in Edinburgh and I would see them at the station… They are mostly junkies… I don‘t know where they get the money to drink and do drugs but it must come from somewhere. ” Alison is a housewife with a part time job and three children and she comments:
“When I come into town on the train… I am put off when I see homeless people. I always feel, when thy beg for money, that they are trying to make me feel guilty… As a family, we work hard to get what we need… I would rather give my money to a proper charity. ” The above comments suggest that most homeless people take drugs and drink and also that they do not work hard enough to get what they need. Both Karen and Alison fail to see the individual person as all they see are people to be criticised and avoided.
Some homeless people find it very difficult to seek help when they are seen only as a stereotype; peoples body language as they walk past can lower the self esteem of the homeless and make them feel like they are not wanted and therefore feel they cannot go to any one for help. Stereotypical views are harmful. Homeless people can feel that they cannot talk to anyone but they can post information on a website called: “The Way They See Us”. This site lets the homeless post how they feel; almost like a diary but everyone can see it and it allows them to unburden themselves.
The next two people have posted on this site how they feel. Here, Vicky explains how she feels when people pass her: “The worst thing for me was people looking at me in disgust. I had no control over my appearance… When I begged for spare change I could see the disgust in peoples‘ eyes. ” Vicky must feel horrible when people look at her in disgust and she might be worried that if she asks for help they might just turn her away. Her personal problem which has arisen from being homeless is one of low self esteem.
Darren comments: “I have been back home now for almost a year. My parents and me, we patched things up. It got so bad on the streets that I phoned home one night… It was that best decision I made… It is all horrible, especially in winter, but the worst thing is forgetting who you are and losing your identity. We go by street names and you start to think of yourself as a bit of the street rather than an individual person. ” Darren is lucky that he reconciled with his parents but others are not so lucky.
This story shows that low self esteem can also lead to a lack of identity and eventually many homeless people feel that they are so unimportant that they disappear altogether. Vicky and Darren demonstrate that the homeless are individuals with individual worries and concerns. Studies have shown that homelessness is very serious and is on the increase. In North Ayrshire there was an increase in homelessness of 66% and in Argyle and Bute, there was an increase of 70% all due to unemployment and a lack of opportunities for both young and old alike.
On the whole there are approximately 1. 463 children under the age of five that are homeless with their families and 37% of homeless people are under the age of 18. All these studies were done in 2009/2010. Accident and Emergency departments have seen a 7% rise in the number of homeless people coming in with homeless related illnesses like hypothermia and flu. Dr. Alexander of The Southern General states: “It is upsetting to think that once we have put these people back on track we send them, once again out onto bitterly cold streets… Each winter takes its toll.
Lack of food and water and constant exposure to the elements mean that winter related illnesses such as colds and flu can become dangerous to these people. ” As some homeless people have no shelter, they cannot recover from illnesses as well as others. Increasing numbers of homeless people can be caused by debt or unemployment, at this point in time, the credit crunch may be playing a part in the increase of homelessness, people might not be able to get jobs and will get into debt and then will have to leave their homes and therefore become homeless.
I think that new methods should be used to help the homeless people find shelter and a place where they feel safe, for example, buildings that are empty at night should be opened up and could be paid for by the council or volunteer funding, I also think that shelters should be opened up during the day so that it can be used as an address for the homeless. I think that the council should build affordable homes for people who do not have enough money.
As a lot of people are homeless because of debt and this would help reduce the increase in homelessness. In conclusion, having examined the topic of homelessness, I have found that homelessness is an increasing problem that no one wants to help with. My research has shown that society should not turn their back on the homeless and pretend it is not a problem. I think that initiatives should be introduced to help make the homeless’ life better.