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Homelessness is a social problem that exists in many societies and countries around the world. This phenomenon has become one of the biggest social problems facing the world in the twenty-first century due to poor societal mindsets and governing policies. Homelessness is an international issue that exists in a lot of societies and every locality people live in the world suffers from instability due to homelessness. Natural, homelessness is not a fine phenomenon because unfortunately, it is proof that there is a defect in the societies that have it. The problem continues to grow every year, but there is still no solution from governments. To reach a solution for any issue or problem, it needs a comprehensive study on it in all aspects, so as we get complete information about it.

Causes of Homelessness

The homeless are generally classified by experts into

  • Impoverished
  • Seasonal homeless
  • Mentally mishandled
  • Handicapped


The impoverished are simply those without any, or at least very little, income.  They are unable to change their economic situation on their own, either because of geographic location, lack of technical skills, or by holding outstanding debts which cannot realistically be paid in full.  Generally the impoverished are thought of to exist in third‐world countries only, but they are present even in the largest cities of the world. The hidden homeless are those who are not physically without shelter but do not have a permanent home.  Most hidden homeless are working‐class families who became unable to keep up with expenses and have moved in with family members.  While the hidden homeless do have shelter, their families must now deal with cramps, and possibly dangerous, living conditions. The hidden homeless are considered an actual problem because those who are unable to rebound from their situation are sent into the streets when their families can no longer suffer the burden.

Seasonal Homelessness

The seasonal homeless include those with seasonal employment, such as farming jobs, those affected by natural disasters, and the occasional runaway.  These men and women had homes and a sufficient living, but due to circumstances beyond their control, they lost or were forced to give up their physical possessions. These individuals do not appear homeless, but do not actually possess homes of their own and are often forced to live in overcrowded living conditions, such as with extended family or friends. These people all rely on the welfare systems implemented by the government, and local aid groups, and as such cannot be omitted from consideration. The seasonal homeless generally are seen as able to recover from their situation when given immediate aid and time. 

Mentally Mishandled

The mentally mishandled are those who suffer emotional or chemical imbalances, typically making them unable to function normally in society and, especially in the case of homelessness, are unable to work or maintain a job that can sufficiently suit their economic needs.   


The handicapped, much like the mentally ill, have a medical condition that prevents them from being able to adequately support themselves.  This is one of the broadest categories since it can include such a vast range of people, from those who were born with medical disabilities and will never be able to work, to those on temporary medical leave who may have a permanent job but are not paid while they receive treatment for their condition.

While a majority of homeless groups exist solely in modernized cultures, homelessness remains a problem throughout the world.   Everywhere there are people in constant search of food, water, and shelter. Many of these people have nowhere to go and can find no end or relief to their suffering.  Homelessness was originally believed to be a cultural problem but is now revealing itself as a global problem.  It is a problem suffered by all of humanity and must be faced and solved as such.

Surveys estimate that between and more 2.3 and 3.5 million people experience homelessness in America. Another survey found that an estimated 671,888 people were homeless on a given night in January 2007. Of these people, fifty‐eight percent resided in shelters, while the other forty‐two percent did not have any shelter. The current recession is causing these numbers to increase drastically. A recent study estimated in the next two years, the recession will force approximately 1.5 million more people into homelessness. As the recession continues, jobs will become increasingly scarce and employers looking to hire will become more selective in their choices.  This, coupled with the fact minimum wage, in any of the fifty states, is not enough to actually live on, means those people, left with no or little resources, will be forced to either live on the streets or in shelters.

Between 1980 and 2003, federal support for low‐income housing fell by 49% [National Coalition for the Homeless]. Currently, most of the funding for shelters and soup kitchens comes from private donors.  Of those donors, many are decreasing donations to shelters in an effort to keep their own families off the streets.  A larger portion of people in the US, however, have developed a stereotypical view of the homeless as lazy or helpless, which is far from the truth but close to pre-planned policy and negligence. One concern conducted in 2005, in twenty cities in the United States, found that 13% of the homeless have steady jobs but are still unable to support themselves or their families [Resource Center].  In addition, with the recent downturn of the economy, the number of people losing jobs has been increasing and, in turn, increasing the demand for shelters. This increased demand has strained the already limited capacity and resources of these shelters.  Over the past few years, many shelters have been forced to closed, leaving the homeless they helped with nowhere to go.  Unfortunately, many people do not understand how large this problem is becoming or how widespread it is. Justice in this area of knowledge is severely lacking, allowing ignorance to run rampant.

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