System Failure Causes Homelessness Essay

2382 Words 10 Pages
Everyone has gone without something at some point in their lives. Maybe new clothes, cell phone, cable TV, but how many have gone without a place that they can call home? It was estimated that during 2009 on any given night there was 664,414 people staying in a shelter somewhere in the United States (Khadduri & Culhane, 2010a). Through 2009, 1.56million different people were recorded to have used an emergency housing shelter (Khadduri& Culhane, 2010a). These numbers do not account for those who did not use emergency housing shelters, but were defined as homeless. The legal definition of homelessness one would have to review the McKinney-Veto act of 1987, it states “An individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime …show more content…
Lee, Jones, and Lewis, issued a survey to determine common public belief about the causes of homelessness. Their report illustrated the findings of their survey based on personal reasons of respondents that ranged from personal choice, work aversion, alcoholism, mental illness, bad luck, and structural forces. Of those the top three perceived by the public, they surveyed, were (in descending order) structural forces, mental illness, and bad luck (Lee et al., 1990). Alcoholism and work aversion were not in the top three bucking the stereotypical belief that people become homeless because of alcoholism and being lazy. According to a Veterans Affairs social worker, Ms. Perry, who has multiple years working with those suffering from alcoholism and substance abuse, said that “Alcoholism becomes a part of their daily routine after being homeless for a period of time” (personal communication March 18th, 2011). What can be inferred from this statement is that alcoholism is a coping mechanism that people develop just to get through daily life. Policy, economic factors, demographic trends, and housing costs are macro factors that have the greatest influence on the impoverished. These factors cannot be controlled by the individual and are forced to weather, in hopes of survival. People try to avoid these strong external forces, but not all people are given the

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