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Homeless In America

Updated on October 22, 2012

"Homeless, broke, tired and ugly, can you help"?

As I was driving to work one cold winter morning; I could see this same homeless man that stands on the corner every day with a sign that reads, "I am homeless, broke, tired and ugly, can you help"? It made me think what happened in his life to bring him to this. I see this man in the heat of the day, and in the coldest day of winter. I think to myself actually working would be much easier. This man has to endure all kinds of obstacles. Not having a roof over your head is just one; there's also hunger. The most important would have to be safety, I have read about homeless getting beat up because some drunken teens are bored;this is unbelievable to me. I know there are different reasons why people become homeless, I Guess one would be the lack of affordable housing. Three primary causes are:

  • Mental illness and the lack of needed services
  • Substance abuse and also the lack of needed services
  • Also low-paying jobs

Homeless grew in the 1980's to 200,000 and 500,000 Americans and is much higher now

In the 1980's, a continuing trend of de-institutionalization continued in mental health hospitals. After many years of concerned citizens demanding that the federal government provide these people with assistance,President Reagan signed the McKinney-Veto Homeless Assistance Act in 1987. This is the only Federal Legislation that has funding to the direct service of the homeless people.

In the mid 1980's there was an increase of families being homeless,also tied in to this was the increase of runaway children, teenagers, and also young adults;which created a new homeless population. Although there are shelters these are temporary housing.


  • Affordable housing
  • People who has served in prison
  • U.S. Department of Veterans affairs
  • The Economy
  • Natural disasters
  • Foster home Children
  • De institutionalization movement
  • Low - income

Homeless women have increased in the 20th century,  many women in there fifties suffer from chronic diseases as well as  psychological problems that deal with adult partner abuse, foster care, and childhood sexual abuse.A direct cause of domestic violence is the cause in half of all homeless women in the United States. Victims of domestic violence are excluded from homelessness studies, despite the lack of livable conditions that they have to live with.

What are We Fighting For

There is a failure of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide mental health care and also meaningful job training for many homeless veterans especially those of the Vietnam War. They fought for their country and now they are homeless in  America. You would think the government could or would take care of their own.

Percentages of homelessness

There are so many reason for homelessness, It must be rough no matter the reason. I love the security of having a home to feel safe in. I would be lost without that. The streets are so cold and scary I cant imagine having to fight or beg for my food or shelter. These homeless people are either mentally ill or are addicts; no matter what the reason, they stand on the corner, and ask for money every day. The last time this one man looked at me and made a motion with his hand to his mouth saying he was hungry. Their also writing more clever signs like the one that read "homeless, broke, ugly and plain tired, can you help"?

Everyone has a story!

Sometimes when we see a homeless person on the street, we forget that they are a human being with a story, afterall everyone has a story. The young girl that got kicked out of her house, perhaps because she got herself pregnant, or perhaps because she was being molested by her father or stepfather, either way, she finds herself on the street, trying to make her way from one day to the next.

There is also an older lady that is dragging around a grocery cart with all of her belongings in the cart. How did she wind up on the street, afterall, she was once an executive in a well established company, but she found herself layed off from her job and she was only a couple paychecks away from being homeless, without any family or friends to take her in. Maybe pride kept her from asking for help, sometimes a person really has to humble themselves to beg for that kind of help, and sometimes people would rather just try to take care of themselves than to ask anyone for anything.

There is also an old man who has seen two wars in his lifetime, and his wife died a few years ago and after that he lost his will to live or to even take care of himself. He lost his house because of the bottle and would just as well live on the street, because he lost his will to do just about anything for himself, all he asks is for a few lousy dollars, maybe its to get something to eat or maybe its for a bottle of wine, should we judge him for his plight? After all he fought for this country and then when he came back from Vietnam his country basically turned its back on him, calling him a baby killer after everything he did for his country. He even watched as his best friend died from contacting agent orange, where is his country now? They look at him like he is nothing but a piece of shit asking for a hand out, and the truth is he doesn't give a damn but he really wants that drink, enough so that he would lose all his pride and hold up a sign as he watches you turn that corner and look away from him as if he doesn't exist.

Either way, when you see a homeless person, and believe me you will, look into their eyes and find the story that is hidden behind them, and try not to judge them too harshly. After all, we could easily be in their shoes after some bad luck and just a couple of house payments being late. Judge not, lest ye be judged.


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    • profile image

      ruffridyer 6 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      A friend of mine saw a man carrying a sign, "Will Work for Food". He offered to give the man a hot meal in exchange for doing some simple tasks around his home. The man refused, he just wanted the money.

      The home less issue is more complex than some people realise.

    • BobbiRant profile image

      BobbiRant 7 years ago from New York

      But many people cannot work to help themselves, I have two degrees and scads of experience and even I've found it difficult to find a job at times. So ALL of us are very few paychecks away from the streets. Many people don't like the homeless as this reminder. I've seen the time when $10 might as well have been 10 million. Great hub.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 7 years ago from Texas

      Homelessness is a very complex issue as you point out and stems from a myriad of sources. For those who suffer mental problems or addiction, help is almot impossible because the individuals do not want to abide by the rules of the shelters which normally stipulate no drinking and no drugs. Many of them have no family that anyone can locate so having them declared mentally incompetent becomes rather difficult. In that situation, the mental facility can only hope they will stay voluntarily as they cannot hold them against their will. Most will not because they either can't reason or they are drawn by the call of drugs and booze. Then of course there are those who assume the role of homeless but are not just to attempt collect money on the corner...they undermine the credibility of those who are homeless. I am sure there are folks out there who are doing good things for them but the effort is probably just a drop in the ocean compared to the size of the problem. I find it interesting that the situation hase evolved so greatly since the 80's. It would be interesting to know what is driving that. If you have not read my hub "Headin' To Tucson", you might find it interesting as it is a fictional account of a homeless man. Thanks for sharing. WB

    • profile image

      Rose56 7 years ago

      @ rhonda Waits Thats what I do I give them what I can, but I need to go to work myself and so should they even if it at MacDonald's.Thanks for reading.

    • Rhonda Waits profile image

      Rhonda Musch 7 years ago from The Emerald Coast

      Rose56 a very sad and lonely story. I agree this is sad and we should never judge a book by it's cover. We can not help everyone. I saw a homeless man in my local home town. He had a dog with him,it was freezing outside. I felt sorry for the dog. The man was drinking a hot cup of coffee. Eating a sandwich and had the dog tied to a tree beside him. I bought the dog a sandwich and a sweater. The dog thanked me with a bark. Then the man stuck out his hand,to also thank me. I did what I could for them both that day. I gave the man 5 dollars. I don't agree that they can not work or get help. It is up to them. God Bless you and your readers.

      Sweet wishes Rhonda

    • rose56 profile image

      rose56 7 years ago

      @ ladyjane1 thanks for stopping by I sure do value your opinion.

      @geegee77 i see them every day . its really sad I wonder if they truly want help to get off the street?

    • geegee77 profile image

      geegee77 7 years ago from The Lone Star State!!

      Great job with this one sis, I see these people everyday and I always wonder what happend or why did their lives turn into such hopelessness, I try to give them money when I can it is just so sad especially to see small children:( we can only pray for them love ya sis :) ge

    • ladyjane1 profile image

      ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

      Rose very sad hub and I agree when you say that everyone has a story and we shouldnt judge them too harshly because we don't know how they got where they are or why. Thanks for sharing this sad situation with us and everyone should be more aware of the growing problem that is the homelessness in America. Cheers sis.

    • rose56 profile image

      rose56 7 years ago

      breakfastpop thanks for reading. I see these people every day and cant believe how lost they look.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      This is a very sad state of affairs. Most of the time these people really refuse help. They are afraid to go to shelters and sometimes I have to say they are right. For the richest country in the world, we certainly have let so many people down.