Homelessness is a challenging situation which many societies suffer from. The condition of people without a permanent residence, such as a house or condominium, is known as homelessness. Individuals who are homeless are most often incapable of obtaining and maintaining basic, secured and satisfactory housing.1 The term homeless has varying legal definitions depending upon the rules and regulations of each country. The folks whose main residence at the time of night is in a shelter or in the streets, for example, in a homeless shelter, a domestic violence shelter, a vehicle, long-term residence in a motel, squatting, a tent city, cardboard boxes, tarpaulins, or in squatter settlements made of discarded building materials or in any other form of unplanned housing situations, are referred to as the homeless. The homeless do not just miss out on a personal, physical space but they also fail to connect with their ancestries, develop their identity, they sense a lack of security, a sense of belonging and a place of emotional comfort. There are many factors that trigger people to become homeless. This essay explores some of the main causes of homelessness, such as poverty, relationship problems, domestic violence, and being LGBT; and consequences such as mental ill-health, nutritional deficiency and drug or sexual abuse.
Poverty is one of the leading causes of homelessness. Poverty is best acknowledged as the state of being extremely poor. When people have insufficient income to meet all of their daily necessities, they are obligated to give up or choose between housing, utilities, transportation, childcare, healthcare, and food. Some of the sources of poverty are unemployment, precarious work, low minimum wages, racialization and feminization of poverty. In the developing world, human migration is very common. People move from one country to another or from villages to cities with hopes of attaining a better lifestyle, better job opportunities, etc. However, the consequences after immigrating are not as simple. People have to face many hardships before settling down, for instance, racialization. The immigrants usually end up in low quality areas if they cannot afford to pay the high housing costs in urban cities. Racialization forces people to live in areas with bad conditions where they are deprived from basic social services, for example, African Americans are forced to live in ghettos. Until the person is employed, and gets an adequate salary, they face poverty. Costs of living in urban areas are pretty high and Precarious employment is common. Where there is job insecurity and lack of protection, people are paid low wages which are at or near defined poverty lines and face high risks of termination and ill-health. Therefore, many people are left homeless until they find a stable job to be able to pay all the expenses attached.
Between 240,000 and 400,000 lesbians, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth experience at least one episode of homelessness each year in the United States. (Forge Reading) Many parents are unable to accept their child as LGBT. Some do not support their child’s preference at all and eventually end up kicking them out of their homes. The LGBT youth face many challenges along with homelessness. Parents often hold up their formal IDs, which make it difficult for them to find jobs. They end up working for low paid jobs or doing criminal acts such as not paying transportation fees as they are unable to afford it. All these trials often lead to police brutality on them. Not just that, LGBT people face broader negative experiences such as bullying and abuse in the family and at schools as majority of the societies are unsupportive of them. Even in shelters, there are other people you are homophobic and transphobic. As these individuals cannot freely express their gender identities and are often belittled by others, LGBT teens prefer living on the streets rather than staying in shelters where they lack a sense of freedom. But, being homeless at a young age in life makes it more likely for these people to become homeless again, later on in life.
relationship problems, domestic violence, Another unfortunate cause that leads to homelessness are natural disasters.
There are many consequences that a homeless person may undergo besides the obvious change in the individual’s life style. Some examples include the type and quality of garments they wear and their means of transport. Homeless people face numerous health effects too. Many studies depict that one out of every three homeless people experience some sort of mental disorder. Sometimes the mental disorder may be the reason the person became homeless or they may have developed the illness from living on the roads. When a person loses all their income and is left with nothing, no solutions, it becomes very hard for them to accept the situation and it could affect their mental wellbeing. Another common effect that homelessness has on its victims is nutritional deficiency, also known as malnutrition. A homeless person’s dietary regime is substantially different than that of a person who is not homeless. The homeless often end up digging garbage bins in search of leftover food from restaurants or other people since they do not have enough money to eat out or prepare a home cooked meal. A high portion of the food they eat are spoiled or rotten. Those discarded food are unhygienic and therefore, unhealthy for them. However, under certain circumstances, rotten food is better than no food at all.