Homelessness In America
Looking like Everyone Else
When most people think of the homeless;usually people think of the disheveled, derelict men, or the proverbial 'bag lady'. Or of people caught in the grip of a serious mental illness. Or as is the case for many, they are bound by alcohol or drug addiction. In the past it could be said these were the bulk of the homeless populace. Today that is becoming less true. There is an alarming change to the face of homelessness. With women and children being a great portion of that increasing number. As more families are feeling the sting of this economy. The rate of home foreclosures, and bankruptcies has led to the rise, and changing face of the homeless.
Closing the Gap
Of an estimated 3.5 million homeless people, 1.5 million are children. It is disturbing that the generation gap is closing in a disturbing area of the social strata. The numbers of 18 and under, and those 60 and over is growing. This coincides with a growing number of seniors unable to find 'affordable' housing. Which can be attributed to a growing rise in utility, food, gas, and medical costs. With many seniors now having a co-pay, they can't even afford. Increasingly sad in that it is estimated that the homeless live 30 yrs. less than their peers. Homelessness has increased 18% since 2009. The economy of the past decade has most certainly led to the changing of the tides. Putting more, and more people on the streets.
While the mentally ill comprise a large number. Many having to go to the streets to live.Thankfully the number of homeless vets decreased from 400,000 in 2004 to 135,000 today.
Women and Children?
The thought of women and children on the streets is disturbing. The reasons behind that homelessness are cause for great concern. Here are some sad facts:
- In 2010 over 28,000 children 'aged out' of foster care
- In 2009 the NCH (National Coalition for the Homeless) , and six other non-for-profits found an average of 10% of their clients were homeless because of foreclosure.
- A Study in New York found that violence is a principle reason for women being homeless. Depending on area, between 22 to 57% of women are homeless because of domestic violence.
As of 2009 the government invested 1.5 billion dollars to the cause. With 1 billion going to affordable housing. Meanwhile, as the country awaits an economic turn-around how do we help the 3.5 million people on the streets?
There are ways that you can help besides giving money. Maybe consider a few hours of your time packing food boxes. Some shelters are always willing to accept your old throw away clothing. You can find help organizations in your area phone book, or on the www.
resource: www.nationalhomeless.org(national coalition for the homeless)