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Impact of Homelessness

Updated on March 25, 2012

Impact of Homelessness

Homelessness has an impact on society in many different ways. Individuals typically don’t think about all the impacts that homelessness has on society as a whole. Some of the ways in which homelessness impacts society are the amount of money the tax payers spend to give these individuals support services and programs in order for the individuals to survive. Another effect that homelessness has on society is the impact due to increased crimes by homeless individuals to survive. A third impact homelessness has on society is through lack of education and job opportunities for these individuals.

Societal Cost

Homelessness has an effect on both the individual and society. Society has to pick up the cost for homeless individuals to get very basic services such as treatment for illness, places to sleep in and food to eat. The funding “for these programs comes in the form of taxpayer dollars and private donations”(Homelessness 2008). For instance for an individual who is homeless to get treatment for an illness the individual typically has to go to an emergency room instead of just seeing a normal doctor do to lack of healthcare and/or money. A study was done on this issue in Hawaii and was found that “the cost for treating homeless individuals was 3.5million or about 2,000 per person” (National Alliance to End Homelessness). Another interesting fact is that homeless individual spend aboud “four days longer per hospital visit”(National Alliance to End Homelessness).

Shelters for individuals who have no place to live are also another costly expense for taxpayers. Many times emergency shelters are used as long term housing for individuals who are homeless. The unique thing about this is that the average cost for shelter compared to section 8 is “8,067 more”(Natioanl Alliance to End Homelessness). This creates a dilemma for many individuals because should government keep paying the extra for shelters or just create essentially free to very affordable housing for the homeless.

Criminal Activity

An issue that seems to go hand in hand with homelessness is criminal activity. Although many of the times the crime homeless people have a tendency to commit is loitering. Society has not looked to kindly upon the issue. Many cities will give a ticket to an individual who is loitering which cost tax payers money because of the police officer and the court time. Whereas other communities will put the homeless individual in prison for 24 hours. The University of Texas did a study on homeless individuals and found out that “each person cost 14,480 per year primarily for overnight jail”(National Alliance to End Homelessness).


Lack of education and job opportunities is also a major cause for individuals who are homeless. Many of these individuals’ children miss out on schooling do to not being in the same place every night. “Children in temporary accommodations miss out on a quarter of their schooling” (Impact of Homelessness 2006). This issue can create many problems down the road such as the need to drop out due to not being in school enough to graduate and less ability to further education. A major issue that comes into play when trying to find a job for homeless individuals is the lack of suitable accommodations for the individual. What is meant by this is typically for an individual to find a job he needs to be clean, dressed up and well groomed. A homeless individual doesn’t always have these luxuries so it make it hard to find an employer. Beyond this without a constant place to live guaranteeing commitment to a job becomes a very difficult task.


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      lena hall 

      14 months ago

      whats your name? it would be really helpful for my work cited pages i have to do for my speeches


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