Homelessness in America is becoming too much of a reality

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Photo Credit: Photo via Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons License

In major cities across the United States, thousands of people are living on the streets. California has the most homeless people in the entire country.

By: Katherine Albuquerque, Editor

All across the country, homelessness is one of the biggest issues that has been progressively increasing as the years go by, more so now than ever. Between 2007 and 2019, over 567,715 people have experienced homelessness in the U.S. Currently, 17 out of every 10,000 Americans are homeless, 1 out of 2 being unsheltered. 

Personal Opinion

I believe that it’s unacceptable to have such a high number of destitute individuals in this country. Our government should have subsidies for helping not just those who lose their jobs and get unemployment checks, but also those who lose their homes. More funding can be put aside every year for building affordable housing across our country’s neighborhoods. Every state and town should have plans in place to immediately help those who lose their homes regardless of the reason.

How Can the Government Help

Federal, state and local officials should be coordinating their efforts for combatting homelessness. Departments should exist solely to provide housing to people who need it. All data should be coordinated in one database shared across the country. If there is no availability in a town or state for free housing, then search the database and relocate those individuals even if it means moving to another location. In addition to providing housing, that specific department should also be collaborating with job finding organizations to help the homeless not simply find housing but jobs as well. Government departments should also encourage the American people to donate and help as much as they can.

Shelter Conditions 

Although there are countless homeless shelters in this country, this temporary relief oftentimes turns into a permanent solution because there are no other options. One disturbing factor that haunts many who live in shelters is the poor living conditions. Many shelters are not regulated by public officials. Instead of using the public funding they receive to manage the premises, some who run the shelters become corrupt and mismanage the funds.

Another issue is that these shelters are often filthy. Several reports have shown that shelters are full of rodents, maggots, broken bathrooms and bed bugs. These conditions worsen as more and more people have no choice but to go into these shelters.

Ultimately, the overcrowding immensely contributes to the unsanitary conditions worsening. On top of that, staff have been known to mistreat disabled individuals and sexually harass women living in the shelters. These are serious issues when 65% of the homeless population live in shelters.

The Other Side

On the other hand, many argue that the government already spends too much money on public housing. In 2019, the federal funding set aside for public housing was at a high $4.65 billion dollars. This is already an astronomical amount of money the government is spending on trying to help the homeless. But who said only the government had to help out? I believe with the efforts of both the wealthy and those who have some money to donate, a lot more could be done from just them alone.

Final Thoughts

We currently have 331 million people living in this country. Imagine if everyone contributed just one dollar to fight homelessness. This certainly would decrease the funding needed from federal and local governments. This is a serious problem that’s going to get worse if we sit back and do nothing. People are starving, freezing, and dying on the streets. It is our civic duty to help in any way we can. If not through money, then we can donate food, clothes, and hygiene products to our local shelters. Remember, that from one minute to the next, anyone can become homeless. So, put yourself in that position for a minute and ask yourself what you would want people to do to help you.

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