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Homelessness In America

Updated on December 18, 2012

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.


Source

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)

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    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Amazing hub and topic!

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Thank you Angela. It is an area I am very passionate about. It's all of us.

    • profile image

      Ginger Ruffles 4 years ago

      Nice to hear there are less homeless vets on the streets. I know we have a special program for them here in town. I don't imagine too many programs are equipped to handle families though.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Yes it is unfortunate. My hat goes off to the many volunteers, and social workers down in the trenches everyday. thanks for your comment Ginger!

    • MjNicole profile image

      MjNicole 4 years ago from North Richland Hills, TX

      Wow! Your hub it home for me. Not too long ago my kids and I were a part of the homeless after my ex-husband walk away from us and we were left with nothing but our bond and my truck, we had to seek shelter at the Women’s and Children’s shelter for a while. Now things have moved in a positive direction for us, we are off the streets and into a beautiful home. And it is true majority of homeless families are not stricken by alcohol or drugs, the economy just went for the wrong turn and now everyday people are facing the threat of being in poverty or without food and shelter.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Yes MjNicole there are circumstances that are out of our control often. As my grandmother used to say , " What don't kill ya, makes ya stronger!" We need to face the issue of homlessness head on , because the economy for many is not turning around soon enough.

    • MjNicole profile image

      MjNicole 4 years ago from North Richland Hills, TX

      So true and your Grandmother is correct, and trust me it has made me stronger and my kids.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Yes I too have had some incredible struggles but the important thing is where your are going, as we have to always be moving forward. Many of the things my grandma said are just sinkin' in.

    • MjNicole profile image

      MjNicole 4 years ago from North Richland Hills, TX

      same here, what did my Granny tell me "when you get older you will understand what I am saying" she live by those words.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      So true ... it takes time and some 'hard knocks', to sometimes acknowledge their wisdom.

    • venomousvenky1 profile image

      venomousvenky1 4 years ago from Trichy, Tamilnadu, India

      A lot of facts laurinzo...this has inspired me now....good one...but this aint only in the USA...there are countries tat have gone unnoticed due to crooked minded politicians..

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Yes... that is so true. The sad is thing is that if humanity would share there would be enough to go around, it is sad how much food the affluent people throw away. Thanks for your comment venomousvenky1

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      There are indeed many homeless people in America and around the world...in our country too. :( It is sad and we hope that solutions can be found. For sure, all the help pooled together really helps.

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. This way please to read and vote http://pattyinglishms.hubpages.com/hub/HubNuggets-...

    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      Great writing, Laurinzo, and thanks for focusing a light on the country's best kept secret about children "aged out" of their home. This is a good hub. Issues close to my heart.

      Congrats on your Hubnuggets Nomination! You must be so proud!

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      I agree with everyone else. this is WONDERFUL WRITING AND RESEARCH.. and it hits to close to home.. at anytime anyone of us could be part of the homeless.

      excellent job.

      Debbie

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Thank you so much Debbie... for your nice comment!

    • ananceleste profile image

      Anan Celeste 4 years ago from California

      is more disturbing still my friend, My kids and I became part of those statistics too.

    • Green Art profile image

      Green Art 4 years ago

      Excellent hub and writing about a topic many don't want to even think about. We are all connected and need to take care of one another. At any point in time we could find ourselves on the street.

      When I was four years old my father died in a work accident. I was one of five children under ten years old. My mother was a housewife without any job skills. If it weren't for good friends and neighbors I believe we would've been out on the street too.

      Sometimes people are struggling who live right next door to you. Lend a hand if your able it can make a world of difference in the lives of those you help.

      If I could thank each of the people personally who helped my family I would in a heartbeat. I'd also let them know that each of my brothers and sisters as well as myself give whatever we can to those in need. They taught us well at a very young age what it means to give. Voted UP and Useful!

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia

      Very useful and very poignant hub, thanks for sharing:)

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      This is a subject close to my heart. It is sad that such a developed country cannot care for its deprived citizens. I wrote a hub on this subject too with a different slant. Perhaps you might like to read it.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      ananceleste I too understand financial crisis... I pray that things are better for you now. Thank you for commenting, and your honesty. This affects us all.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Yes greenart we are all connected... I have met so many wonderful people here on hubpages it is unreal. Thank you for your comments and I am so glad that your family are giving people... God bless you!

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      thank you Beata Stasak and thank you very much for commenting.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Thank you Gypsy Willow I definitely will... I am always glad to find other people who care, and you are right we as a nation can do more, and should.

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 4 years ago from California

      Thank you for writing on such a well kept secret. Both heart wrenching and shocking statistics in our very own backyard! You have done an amazing job with it. Thumbs up and shared all over :) Lisa

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Many thanks for the info, a topic that often gets buried under all the other so called priority news. There are homeless people in most countries around the world but to find so many without a home in the USA is a horror, really and truly.

      Who will speak up for the poor and needy? Someone in power needs to. But all the glory seems to lie in helping the rich get richer and to hell with the rest. I say tax those who have it pro rata - a Robin Hood tax as we say in the UK - something like a TRUE charity at home tax.

    • ananceleste profile image

      Anan Celeste 4 years ago from California

      Laurinzo;

      I wanted to share my story with you, I wrote it when I first came here to Hubpages. It will give you an idea what is like for a woman with 3 disabled kids to live in the streets and shelters for 10 months.

      http://ananceleste.hubpages.com/hub/Being-Homeless...

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Thank you che-de-jour for for your comments, and yes something has to be done here in the U.S. and around the world... to think we have all this technology, and power to travel even in space... and there are hungry people...is atrocious.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Wow... thank you for sharing that anaceleste... you are truly brave, and I applaud you for sticking by your children and fighting forward, for something better. My heart goes out to you.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Thank you Rustic living... for your kind comments, yes it is an issue very close to my heart, as I have had my own personal struggles... and yet it is the women, children,the aged, and disabled that are of such concern for me. It seems so much more can be done.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 4 years ago from Orange, Texas

      When I worked in Houston several years ago, I saw the homeless people on the street. It was so sad. Thankfully, there was a shelter that always provided coats and blankets when it got cold, and provided hot meals. It even provided shelter for as many as it could. But shelters are overloaded at lot of the time.

      As far as the vets are concerned, that's 135000 too many that are homeless.

      A hub that needed to be written and well done. Voted up.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Thank you so much Ann1Az2 I very much appeciate your comments, and you are right any number is too great to be out there.

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you for reminding people about such a big issue in this country which is increasing. There is a theory that if the people in the top 1% income bracket gave a percentage of their income there would not be any homeless people in this country. I don't wait around and think it is important to help even if it's a small donation. Voted up!

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Thank you for your comments, and YES! I believe that theory... even though you may always have a certain amount of people who choose a certain lifestyle... but think of the many who could benefit from all this abandoned property and , empty real estate. And your small donation, is really BIG.. because the bigness is simply caring... that's where it begins!

    • chanroth profile image

      chanroth 4 years ago from California, USA

      Homeless....really sadden me...every time when I read about homeless...just remind me of a personal story that touch me deeply. Your article touch me deeply. And its true that homeless people are homless due to drugs etc...now...it's part of the economy fall--bankruptcy...foreclosure...etc...I also agree with you in terms that money doesn't have to be something we could provide them...canned food...clothe...etc would be a plus for these folks.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Thank you very much for your comments chanroth

      I feel your passion for the less fortunate, and that is blessed

      thank you for stopping by

      Laurinzo

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I refuse to call the United States the greatest nation until poverty and homelessness are eradicated. This is ludicrous and unacceptable in a country with our wealth. Thank you for bringing this subject up for discussion. Great hub my friend.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 4 years ago from California, United States of America

      It is very important to bring awareness to this issue and how many people are homeless and becoming homeless and who they are. It, of course, is horrific that the problem exists at all, especially since we have empty homes to house people and resources to help and feed people. Our priorities are flipped upside down, putting resources into the wrong things and not using them where desperately needed. Good piece, thanks for putting this out there for people to see.

    • Asalexander profile image

      Amanda Alexander 4 years ago from The South

      This is a great subject and so important. Our country will be very successful when NO ONE is homeless.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Thank you so very much Nate b11 this issue is very close to home for me. Thank you for commenting; and apparently this issue is important to you too. We must get involved any way we can. God bless.

      Laurinzo

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Thank you so much for commenting, and I appreciate your ideal. You are right NO ONE homeless, should be the goal!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      So sad but so true;it is reassuring to know that there are people like yourself who care and here's to so many more of your hubs to share on here.

      Enjoy your weekend

      Eddy.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Thank you so much Eiddwen for your kind comments...

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I have to admit that I was one of those people who looked at homeless people as people who just didn't try hard enough. My opinion changed dramatically when my husband and I both lost our jobs on the same day. We became instantly unemployed with zero income - through no fault of our own - just a company letting a bunch of people go for economic reasons. Losing our home to foreclosure was a straight ride to being homeless, as not a single relative lived near to us and they were struggling, also in this economy. My husband and I are fortunate that it didn't come to living on the street, but we came so close that we learned to appreciate what people go through with regard to being homeless. We actually started a church and ministry that helps as best as we can to help anyone we come in contact with who is homeless. If we can help, we do.

      Thank you for creating more awareness of the homeless situation in this country.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      I thank you for sharing your personal story Marlene. So many are in similiar situations now... but it should not be this way for anyone; there are too many resources in the world!

      God bless you

      Laurinzo

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 4 years ago from USA

      Howdy Laurinzo (Laurinzo Scott) - A friend from the distant past had a great job as one of the bigtime execs at GTE. He decided at one time to quit that well-paid job and, as he put it, go to live "under the bridge." He described that long stretch of time with no shingled roof. According to him, "You never would believe the doctors and PhD's you bump into, also living under my bridge." Interesting stuff.

      Gus :-)))

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image
      Author

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      You are absolutely right Gus... there are many people who drop out of society, for whatever reason; but more often than not... especially in recent years... more and more people are falling unwittingly into such a situation... it is growing numbers of people yearly

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