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Causes of Homelessness in America

Homelessness is an ongoing problem for our society. Every day we come to terms with the effects of it, but what about the causes? By definition, a person who is homeless lives in public. The lack and destruction of federal housing programs and increasing rents forced those who are homeless to do in public what everyone prefers to do in private.

According to the website, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, the Low Income Housing Information Service estimates that “there are twice as many low-income families searching for housing as there are units available”, many of which are waiting on Section 8 housing, a list that could take up to six years or more. The H.U.D Report, the Department of
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Middle class people are more vulnerable to poverty because they supposedly make too much money. The amount to require for financial aid in college is under $10,000 a year, by then the person should already be homeless on that salary. Even with assistance, studies show “current TANF benefits and Food Stamps combined are below the poverty level in every state; in fact, the median TANF benefit for a family of three is approximately one-third of the poverty level. Thus, contrary to popular opinion, welfare does not provide relief from poverty,” (Published by the National Coalition for the Homeless, June 1999).

Along with being incapable of paying for bills and receiving assistance, some other reasons behind homelessness are that many of them are mentally ill and don’t evaluate and make rational decisions (O’Flaherty 99). Some of them are in charge in making the choices not only for themselves, but for their whole family as well. Studies show that the proportions of mentally ill people are between ten percent to thirty percent (O’Flaherty 227-28). “A new wave of deinstitutionalization and the denial of services or premature and unplanned discharge brought about by managed care arrangements may be contributing to the continued presence of seriously mentally ill persons within the homeless population” (Mental Illness and Homelessness). Many have chronic diseases such as arthritis, cancer, AIDS, etc., and according to the H.U.D report, 55% said they have no
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