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Shocking News About Homelessness In America

Updated on April 23, 2013
ladydeonne profile image

Deonne Anderson is a retired Child and Family Therapist, Free Lance Writer, and Motivational Speaker who lives in Florence, SC.

Homeless Old Woman

Homeless Old  Woman
Homeless Old Woman | Source

Who Are America's Homeless?

Homelessness is the state of not having a permanent home or place to live. A stable and permanent home environment is one of the things that differentiates humans from the animal species. Having a home is something we usually take for granted.

Well, the shocking news is.....

1) If you are employed and your job is your only source of income AND if you have not been able to save up enough money to support yourself and your family for at least a year, and do not have relatives to bail you out.... you will be in jeopardy of losing your home.

2) If you lose your job and do not have the money or a rich uncle to give you the money to pay your car note, you will be in jeopardy of losing your car. (Not having a car for transportation or sleeping is a liability)

3) If you are the bread winner of your family develops a serious illness and are no longer able to work, you will be in jeopardy of losing your home and your cars.

4) If you are a female and the victim of spousal abuse, you are in jeopardy of losing your home and being homeless.

5) If you experience a life stressor event, i.e, the death of a spouse, parent,or child,or is a victim or witness to a traumatic event, you will be in jeopardy of losing your home.

6) If you are blessed enough to be wealthy and invest heavily in the stock market and the market crashes, you will be in jeopardy of losing your home, your cars, your valuable properties, etc.

7) If you are involved in a serious car crash while driving to and fro or as a passenger in a car, you may be in jeopardy of losing your home.

8) If you are an elderly person on Social Security, and there is a wait for Senior housing you can afford, you will be in jeopardy of becoming homeless.

9) If you are a young child or a teen and your parent(s) lose their jobs, you will be at risk for homelessness.

10) If your unemployment benefits have ran out or will end soon, you are at risk for homelessness.

All and more of these things mentioned above have happened to America's homeless population. They are listed to motivate you to learn and to know more about just who the homeless in America are.

They are individuals just like your self. They may be your once next door neighbors or co-workers...the person you once sat in the same pew with in church, your parents, your siblings...your friends...your post man/woman....your barber...

According to the Department of Housing And Urban Development:

  • 65 % of the homeless are men
  • 41% of the men are between 31-50 years old
  • 66% are families including children
  • 19% are veterans
  • 2% are elderly

Children

The Coalition For homelessness report that 1.5 million children in America go to sleep every night without a home and that 1 in 5 children in America will experience homelessness in their lifetimes

Some Statistics Reported By The National Center On Homeless Children

  • Homeless children are twice as likely to experience hunger as other children
  • Homeless children are two times as likely to have moderate to severe chronic health problems.
  • Homless children are twice as likely to repeat a grade, drop out of high school,or be suspended than otherchildren. Their high school graduation rate is only 25%.

American Veterans

American veterans are individuals who have served our country. Many of them have gone to war and risked their lives so that we could sleep soundly and be free. These men often return home scarred mentally and physically. They are frequently diagnosed with PTSD. Many use drugs and alcohol to deal with their demons. These men and women often end up homeless and on the streets.

Veterans make up 19 % of the homeless population in America.

The Elderly

The elderly make up 2% of the homeless population. That means that on a given night 12,676 elderly persons in America are living in shelters or on the streets.

Many elderly persons are not able to find adequate housing because they are dependent upon Social Security and need to find Government sponsored housing especially for Seniors.

The average wait for Senior housing is 2-5 years. What are those Seniors who are without families or other supplemental support supposed to do? Many of these Seniors end up homeless and living in the streets.

Some Seniors need special considerations if they are to live in a homeless shelter. Some shelters are located in tall buildings. Seniors often find it impossible to climb steps. Seniors are also leery of crowds and prefer to live on the streets.

Teenagers

Of the 41% of homeless families many are children and teens. Many run-away teens are also among the homeless population.

Other shocking news about the homeless!!!

  • The homeless are 3-4 times more likely to die prematurely than the general population.
  • The life expectancy of the homeless is 42-52 years of age.
  • People who are homeless do not reach the age of 62 as often as the general population according to their numbers within the homeless population.


What can you do to help or prevent homelessness?

  • Become more knowledgeable. Don't feed into the myths about the homeless. You now know who the homeless are. Knowledge is power. Share the TRUTH.
  • Don't avoid the homeless or pretend that you don't see them. They are your fellow human beings and deserve to be acknowledged.

Caution! Some of the homeless are paranoid and may react in a hostile manner as they perceive that you are a threat to them.

  • Communicate with them. Listen to their stories. Show that you are interested in and value them as your fellow human beings.
  • If at all possible, give them information re community resources and jobs .
  • Donate money if appropriate. Each situation is different. You may also choose to ask them what things they need and purchase the items for them.
  • Volunteer and donate at shelters for the homeless. The more you give, the more blessings you will receive.
  • Spread the word about how others can help the homeless in your community.
  • Become an advocate for the homeless.


IMAGES OF THE HOMELESS IN AMERICA:


Homeless Children

Source

Homeless Man

Homeless Man
Homeless Man | Source

The statement that best characterizes the homeless in America is.

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    • ladydeonne profile image
      Author

      Deonne Anderson 4 years ago from Florence, SC

      How well have I learned that lesson. I am an advocate for the homeless in my area. It still amazes me that many individuals were not as fortunate as me and my daughter. We were able to rebuild in (18) months. I'm working with some individuals now whose homes and jobs were lost during the 2008-9 economic downturn especially in the housing markets. A lot of people could not find jobs that paid them as well as their old jobs and some gave up or turned to alcohol and drugs. Some times I feel as though I'm going around in circles. The sad thing is that money would solve a great many of their problems. All of the city programs for the homeless maxed out at the time of the sequester. Some of these individual were living in housing subsidized by grant money. When the city couldn't pay their portion of their rent they were back on the street. Thanks for commenting..

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I'm glad to see this hub on the feed again. It's a crucial message. Too many people, particularly in America, have the attitude that all the homeless are either just too lazy to work or choose to live rough. That simply is not true. There are people living in their cars on on the street because they cannot afford to keep a roof over their heads for one or more of the reasons you listed.

      As I commented on another hub recently, NO ONE is immune to homelessness, hunger and poverty.

      Voted Up+++

      Jaye

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      I have written an article on this subject also titled "Poverty Kills More People Every Year Than Either Of the Top Killers -- Heart Disease or Cancer." I have added a link to this hub in a prominent link capsule on my hub.

      The fortunate in this depression (it is a depression for the working class and poor) seem to have no clue as to just how few jobs are available no matter how many degrees and certifications a person has and they do not realize how lucky they are that homelessness hasn't knocked on their door -- but if obstructionism doesn't end soon, it may very well knock on a lot of unsuspecting people's doors.

      Of course an unexpected event like accident, sickness, job loss, divorce, death in the family, home fire, and many other things can put people in the street pretty quickly, no economic depression required.

      Voted up, interesting and useful. Will pin to my "Helping People in Need" board and sharing with my followers!

    • ladydeonne profile image
      Author

      Deonne Anderson 4 years ago from Florence, SC

      Thanks so much for your comments. My period of homelessness was a real eye opener for me. Though it was a very traumatic time for me, I stayed the course and really came to see myself and my then disabled daughter in a new and more positive way.

      Like you, I am very disappointed with our government in this country who put the interest of the big corporations ahead of middle America. We, the working class, bear the burden of America's expenditures and debts on our backs. The economic crisis generated by the housing and banking crisis has taken a toll on thousands of Americans. My daughter and I are blessed that we were able to bounce back in about (2) years. I am aware that some people lost everything during that dark period and are still struggling. Thank you for sharing and spreading the word.

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 4 years ago from Sunny Spain

      An excellent Hub, the reality is that for nearly everyone of us that works for a living, we are only one step away from this happening to us.

      Unfortunately no matter which country you live in, the politicians that we elect to run the country on our behalf, instead of helping us the ordinary citizens by making more money and resources available, choose instead choose to demonize us when we have fallen victim to their elitist policies.

      It is extraordinary how the homeless are portrayed as being work-shy, spongers, feckless and undeserving, while the bankers whose greed caused the present economic climate in the first place, are not held accountable and their gigantic debts are written off by our governments.

      The staggering amounts of money that has been spent by our governments bailing out the banking system would have been better utilized by bailing out those whose homes went into foreclosure and who lost jobs as a result of the reckless behaviour of these bankers. It would not have cost anywhere near what it did to bail out the banks and money would have gone back into the system.

      Instead of being penalized for causing the present crises they are bailed out using the money (taxes) of the ordinary working people. They have not lost their homes or their jobs like those who have become innocent victims of their greed.

      I find it unbelievable that the same bankers who caused this mess, not only have been bailed out by our governments, but they are still awarding themselves indecent sums of money in the form or bonuses.

      In the real work of the working people, you only get a bonus if you and the company you work for does well, if you so something that loses money, you are more likely to get the sack than a bonus.

      I think this Hub needs to be widely read, many people think that it cannot happen to them, they just don not understand how vulnerable they are, and if they ignore or lack compassion for those who are already in that position, they are sowing the seeds of being treated the same way should they be unfortunate enough to find themselves in the same position.

      Voting up and hitting the relevant button on my way out and tweeting :D

    • ladydeonne profile image
      Author

      Deonne Anderson 4 years ago from Florence, SC

      Faith Reaper,

      Thanks for your comments. You are so right. Most of us think that homelessness happens to "other people". In reality most of us who work for a living and are dependent upon our employers for our income are just a few pay checks away from being homeless. My daughter is working with a woman who before coming to work at their company in 2011, made in excess of $100,000 a year. Unfortunately she was let go by her old company and accepted her current position making around $65,000.00. Her husband lost his job in 2012 as he has Chron's Disease and is disabled. He has applied for disability. With just one paycheck, they had to file bankruptcy and lost the home they owned before moving to the area where I live and one of their cars. On last Friday, she was involved in an auto accident which was her fault and sustained head injuries and broke her back. She will be unable to work for many months if ever again. Their current home which they rent is being foreclosed on and the owner has served notice that she wants them to move by June 1. Her husband has said that they will not be able to rent another home with his wife's long term disability income from her job. I am trying to help them by referring them to various community programs. I applaud you for your work with the homeless. You are truly and Angel.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Great article on a distrubing issue happening right here in America! Yes, people are under the wrong impression that the homeless could never be them, when the average homeless person is someone who had a job and lost it, etc. It is not just someone who is on drugs, mentally ill, etc., but your average American. Thanks for bringing awareness to this serious problem. I have served the homeless and/or downtrodden in the city in which I work and have written about it too, and it is a sad state of affairs no matter how one looks at it.

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • profile image

      Lesleysherwood 4 years ago

      Deonne, this is tragic to hear, especially the fact that the US is the richest most powerful country in the world. We have the same problem here in the UK. For the grace of God it could be anyone of us stumbling on hard times, or even the family we're born into. Thank you for giving us this information and statistics.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 4 years ago

      You gave me a different look at the homeless in America.Thanx for opening my eyes.I do what I can but it never seems to be enough.I appreciate all your efforts in working to make life better for the homeless any way possible.Have a great day.

    • ladydeonne profile image
      Author

      Deonne Anderson 4 years ago from Florence, SC

      Torrilyn,

      Helping others makes us feel good. We not only help them, we also help ourselves. The more compassion and love that we give, the more compassion and love the Universe will send back to us. I hope that you will consider volunteering to help the homeless again on a regular basis if your time permits.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      LadyDeonne,

      I'm not surprised by the statistics and facts about homeless people

      here where I stay I use to volunteer for the mission that gave clothes to

      the homeless and food every time around the holidays

      there were literally about a hundred or so people that would come inside

      thanks for this article

      Voted up and shared.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 4 years ago from Philippine

      Yes, shame, my teacher once said that the American Government give assistance to people below average living then I read about this hub. shame

    • ladydeonne profile image
      Author

      Deonne Anderson 4 years ago from Florence, SC

      Thanks for the thumbs up! As an advocate for the homeless I am thrilled to spread the word about who the homeless are and what we can do to help. My intent is to be an agent in changing individuals perception of homeless people. I am a testimony that it can happen to anyone, young and old, the highly educated and the illiterate, the poor and the wealthy. Thanks for spreading the word!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Everyone should read this--sharing this everywhere that I am able

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      My heart is heavy with sadness that the once-great USA and elected Congressional representatives will waste billions of dollars on worthless or impractical projects, yet allow homeless people all over the country to sleep rough on the streets and go without essentials. This should not happen here! Since it does, it's up to each of us to do what we can to help. The combined efforts of caring people CAN make a difference.

      Voted ++ and shared.

      Jaye

    • Mary Phelan profile image

      Mary Phelan 4 years ago from London

      This piece of writing has shocked me out of complacency. I hope it reaches much, much further.

      Thank you.

    • KrisL profile image

      KrisL 4 years ago from S. Florida

      Thanks for this great wake up call.

      I think something a lot of people don't know is that many homeless people do work -- they just cannot afford a place to live.

      Others are mentally ill, and might thrive if they had safe, sheltered housing and regular medical care . . . but don't get it.

      Good luck on your book . . . I hope it helps wake people up to how easy it is to become homeless in our economy, and how many ordinary people have experienced it.

      Voted up, useful, and shared.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      hmmmm...that's not much of a poll - 2 negative choices..

      i find this statistics disgusting - but - not surprising..

      i don't understand how we don't understand that we are but a step - or two - away from the exact same circumstance..

      It's not 'them' and 'us' - it's just US!

      love the passion behind the words - voting up and sharing forward..

      words that are not shared - cannot be read!

    • Kristinmcr profile image

      Kristinmcr 4 years ago from Wisconsin

      Hi ladydeonne, it is very sad to see people who are homeless on the street. I usually try to give them food instead of money, if that's an option but I have a hard time just walking by and doing nothing. I have found many of them to be kind, intelligent people who had a bad streak of luck and never thought they would be in the situation that they are in.

    • ladydeonne profile image
      Author

      Deonne Anderson 4 years ago from Florence, SC

      Cyndi,

      Thanks for your complimentary comments! I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would become homeless. My daughter and I became the 'faces of the new homeless" in America. The experience made us stronger, more aware and grateful for the simple things we take for granted, and we discovered our true selves. i am writing a book about our experience and will let you know when it goes to print, i perused your hub site and like what I saw very much .i will go back and read some of your work shortly.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

      Very well done! I don't think people often think about how close they could be to homelessness should some disaster take place. You have pointed this out very clearly in your article. This economy may be improving, but the damage has been done to many who may not ever recover from what they have been through.

      I appreciate the efforts you put into writing this excellent piece. Voted up.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      This is an interesting and honest look at how some vulnerable people are living today which is so very sad but true.

      Thank you for caring enough to share this great hub.

      I vote up and share.

      Eddy.

    • ladydeonne profile image
      Author

      Deonne Anderson 4 years ago from Florence, SC

      Paola,

      Many of the elderly do not have family. It's a shame that a country as wealthy as America would allow even one child or elderly person to live in the streets. And yet, the Obama administration is being asked to cut funding that affects the elderly in this country. Thanks for your input.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 4 years ago from Philippine

      Nice Hub! I really hate seeing elderly in streets without proper wards since they require great effort of service especially from their own family.