. . will do little to help” (Berne 100). “(The) Government creates homelessness and shelter dependency when it provides too little money even to pay the rent” (Rossi 106).
The government needs to help the homeless people so they (the homeless) can get off the streets. Today, the homeless shelters that we do have in this country are filling up very quickly and forcing those not lucky enough to be in one to live on the streets. “The shelter system does little to reduce either sources of homelessness or equip the homeless to achieve independence” (Hoch and Slayton 123). “The problem is not too few houses – rather, it is too much government” (Mehrten 156). This saying means that there are houses but the government will not provide funding for them.
The problem of homelessness is not strictly a United States problem, but is a major problem throughout the world. All governments, not just the United States government, need to become more active in taking care of this problem. A beginning would be the funding of more shelters throughout the world. More shelters would mean less homeless on the streets.
Who are the homeless? The homeless in this discussion include people who are on skid row (most of who are men), the mentally handicapped who have been discharged from mental institutions before they are ready and any person who does not have a regular site for shelter. The newest population among the homeless are children, women, the elderly and whole families. Skid-row alcoholics account for only about twenty percent of our nation’s homeless. Patient discharged from a mental institution, also known as the mentally ill, have had a tremendous influence on the numbers of the homeless. In the past two thousand community mental health centers have been proposed, but of these only eight hundred have ever been funded.
People who are among the ranks of the unemployed are the newest members of the homeless. Without employment they are unable to provide a permanent shelter for themselves and so enter the world of the homeless. Two million people under the age of twenty-one make up another new part of the homeless. Many are homeless by choice, because they have run away from home while others have simply been forced out of their homes. Still others have outgrown the foster care system that we have in our county. Very young children, under the age of ten, are homeless because their families are homeless.
Women make up approximately twenty to twenty-seven percent of our nation’s homeless population. There are many factors that lead to women becoming homeless. These include the loss of inexpensive housing, spousal abuse, and economic hardship from sex and age discrimination. The homeless family is mainly comprised of a woman alone and two to three children. Some homeless families may include a father figure but they are few. Most families become homeless from loss of their homes either through fire, eviction or the escaping of an abusive environment.
Many homeless children are poorly nourished, clothed and educated. Elderly homeless are perhaps less noticeable in our society than other homeless individuals. Many elderly homeless are ashamed to ask for help as they have always managed to take care of themselves. For an elderly person to be in the homeless position can be especially demeaning for them.
Social groups working with the elderly homeless base this group on the homeless who are fifty-five years of age or older. There are too many homeless people; the government is not helping, and there are not enough shelters. Homelessness is a major problem not only in our country but throughout the entire world. Evidently the government has tried to help in the past, but either their help is .