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Homelessness In America

Throughout the United States it has been stated that between ?355,000 and
445,000? (Resaner) people are homeless everyday and night. Homelessness is
something that affects people of all ages, races, backgrounds and religions. The
problem of homelessness is not something that only happens in the large cities,
it happens everywhere. There are people with many different problems that force
then to become homeless. They do however all have one thing in common they have
nowhere to live. Some factors that contribute to homeless in America that make
it unpreventable are the lack of education, economic factors and mental illness.

Lack of education is something that is looked down upon in today?s
society. The more education, the better a person will be in the work force.

Children are taught from a very young age to stay in school, however a good
number of then will not finish. From making that one decision children?s
lives will be changed forever. Some will make it and some will end up with no
where to turn. Nearly ?twenty six percent? (Nichelason 17) of our
homeless population are people under the age on eighteen years old. These young
kids have no education and in return no way to provide for themselves. So many
of them turn to illegal activities to try and better their lives. If the
children do have a family their situation is not much better without an
education. Most homeless families do not stay in one place very long so the
children can not attend school. The parents often need the children to work to
help provide for the family. For adults the average that an illiterate adult
will earn is ?forty-two percent less? (Resaner 89) then a high
school graduate. Being an illiterate person causes a lot of trouble since they
can not read newspapers, get a drivers license or even attempt to fill out a job
application. The lack of education for our homeless is a key factor in what is
bringing then down to that level. Even if we promote staying in school and push
our kids to the limit there are still factors that make them not finish. Lack of
education is one main reason that homelessness can not be prevented. Some of our
homeless did receive an education but because of other factors in their life
found themselves on the streets. One of these factors is the economic factors in
the United States. People today are also becoming homeless because of economic
factors. Good people with education?s are becoming part of the homeless
problem. More then ?eight million people are unemployed and without
benefits? (Rossi 37). Those are people who are spending every last penny
they have to prevent themselves from being a statistic. However, most within a
few months will have no choice but to turn to the streets. People losing jobs is
something that happens everyday around the United States. Many of the bigger
manufacturing industries and other companies around America have had to close
due to the economic difficulties. Companies today also like to save as much
money as possible so many have relocated to countries where it is cheaper to do
business. ?Every year since the 1970?s two million American?s
have lost their jobs due to economic factors? (Ropars 52). From the
companies closing and moving out of the country it makes it very hard for people
who want to work to find a job. This is a huge problem in the Unites States and
is a problem that can not be solved. So since the problem of ecomonic factors
can not be soved, neither can homlessness. It can not be solved because the
companies will continue to go where the money is for them. Along with lack of
education and economic factors another key factor of why homelessness can not be
prevented is mental illness. Mentally ill men and women make up nearly ?66
percent? (Rasaner 30) of those homeless living on the streets around the

United States. ?In 1989, scientists at John Hopkins University found that

42 percent of homeless men and 49 percent of homeless women studied had serious
mental illnesses? (Resaner 30). Even though there is medicine and
hospitals where most of the illnesses can be treated, there are not enough rooms
and money to help everyone. There is only so much funding that can be given to
help the mentally ill. Patients also have a hard time admitting that they have a
problem and need some help, so often shut out the opportunity to get help. So,
in future they are forced to fend for themselves and many end up homeless. Most
of the mentally ill have disorders that make it impossible to function in
society. For these people it is a never ending cycle of problems with not much
hope for help. ?Between 1955 and 1986, the number of placements in state
mental hospitals declined from 552,000 to 108,000? (Resaner 33-34). With
time this trend will begin to get worse, as doctors are under pressure to
discharge mental patients to try and save money. Mental illness is another
contributer to homelessness that can not be prevented. Homelessness is a probelm
that can not be over looked. It is happening all over our country, with both the
young and old. It is affecting all raced and backgrounds. This problem with
homelessness has been know in our counrty for many years, and will continue to
be a part of it. It a terrible thing homelessness, but it can not be prevented.

There are many contributers to the probelm, and not all can be fixed at once. So
that is why it can and will not be fixed in the future.


Nichealson, Margery. Homeless or Hopeless. Minneapolis: Lerner, 1994. Resaner,

Carl. Crisis in the Streets. Tennessee: Broadman, 1988. Ropers, Richard.

Persistent Poverty. New York: Plenum, 1991. Rossi, Peter. Down and Out in

America. Chicago: Chicago, 1989.