ForumsWEPRWhy are people homeless?

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Goldfish13
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Goldfish13
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Peasant

http://wac.450f.edgecastcdn.net/80450F/tri1025.com/files/2012/11/Homeless-in-Front-of-Staircase-Credit-iStockphoto-140382186-630x451.jpg

Homelessness
This is a topic that has interested me for quite some time now.

By "homeless", I mean the state of having no home and living on the streets;
And by &quoteople", I am referring to anyone at any age at any location in the world, who is "homeless".

Is it due to personal issues, such as substance abuse, recidivism, or even abandonment at birth?
Or is it a part in a larger puzzle, such as the failure of the economy or the government to provide for its citizens?

I would like to hear your opinions on this. All are welcome.
Thanks.

  • 18 Replies
nichodemus
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nichodemus
14,604 posts
Regent

They don't have enough money simply put. Why is this the case? You answered it yourself. Joblessness, kicked out of the family, low education levels making one less attractive for job prospects, the failure of the government to provide adequate aid, or they simply have no one to turn to.

There's no such thing as homelessness having a single source of causation other than the common factor of not having enough cash at hand to procure a home (barring those rare few who choose to live out like that).

Goldfish13
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Goldfish13
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Peasant

Thanks for your brilliant response.

Just out of interest though, how would you rank the factors you listed in terms of general society as a whole (particularly in places such as America)?
Would you rate substance abuse a larger contributing factor (in terms of the number of homeless people) than having low education level? Or do the two go hand in hand?

One more thing: how significant of a role would you say cultural background plays in homelessness? Thing such as race, parent's level of income, etc.

goumas13
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goumas13
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Homelessness is caused by structural factors (the design of urban housing markets, income inequality, social policies, mental health care policies, labor market structures etc.) and individual vulnerabilities (drug addictions, illnesses, etc.). Simply put homelessness is the result of the convergence of many factors, which make a person less able to compete for scarce social and economic resources.

Anyway, it's a vicious cycle, homelessness leads to even more inadequate hygiene and poor health, which in turn leads to chronic unemployment and the cycle goes on and on.

nichodemus
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nichodemus
14,604 posts
Regent

Just out of interest though, how would you rank the factors you listed in terms of general society as a whole (particularly in places such as America)?
Would you rate substance abuse a larger contributing factor (in terms of the number of homeless people) than having low education level? Or do the two go hand in hand?


That's where research on your part comes in useful no? (Esp given the fact that Goumas and I aren't Americans). I do believe that substance abuse plays a part, but substance abuse always seems to be a symptom, rather than the root of the problem. Apropos, I don't have enough background knowledge to judge whether low education is more significant.


Of course it does. But I wouldn't call level of income a cultural background.
goumas13
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goumas13
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Regent

I do believe that substance abuse plays a part, but substance abuse always seems to be a symptom, rather than the root of the problem.

Yea, I have to agree with Nicho. It's very hard to prove causality. Correlation does not necessarily imply causation, especially in this case. Anyway, if I had to rank the factors that -may- cause homelessness I would rank mental illness pretty high. Some research has shown that people with mental health issues are more vulnerable to homelessness (the Mental Health Commission of Canada estimates 25 to 50 per cent of homeless people live with a mental health disorder).
how significant of a role would you say cultural background plays in homelessness?

Sure, family structure, social support and ethnicity, may be relevant to homelessness, but it's quite difficult to estimate their importance. Likewise a family's cultural capital (or lack thereof) could make one more or less prone to homelessness.
Goldfish13
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Goldfish13
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Peasant

Thanks for the opportunity for discussion. Just a note: this discussion may go a little out of the explicit topic mention in the OP, but discussion is...well, discussion.

Homelessness is caused by structural factors (the design of urban housing markets, income inequality, social policies, mental health care policies, labor market structures etc.) and individual vulnerabilities (drug addictions, illnesses, etc.). Simply put homelessness is the result of the convergence of many factors, which make a person less able to compete for scarce social and economic resources.


Yes, that is quite a concise way to put it; saying that, how much of the blame would you then attribute to homeless people (specifically adults) for creating their own situation? Hence, do we have an obligation to help them or no (and how much)?

Also, would you agree that individual vulnerabilities is largely due to structural factors rather than the individual themselves?

Anyway, it's a vicious cycle, homelessness leads to even more inadequate hygiene and poor health, which in turn leads to chronic unemployment and the cycle goes on and on.


Mm. That seems to be the general case in most countries. Reminds me of the famous quote:
"The rich get richer and the poor get poorer."

That's where research on your part comes in useful no? (Esp given the fact that Goumas and I aren't Americans).


True, true. However, by America I was referring somewhat to any marginally developed country, although America seems to embody a shining example of said countries - only because homelessness seems so controversial there.
(I'm not American either, btw)

I do believe that substance abuse plays a part, but substance abuse always seems to be a symptom, rather than the root of the problem. Apropos, I don't have enough background knowledge to judge whether low education is more significant.[/quote]

I agree with you somewhat; however, I am somewhat confused when you attribute substance abuse to being a symptom rather than the core issue. Wouldn't say, drugs such as cocaine or heroine lead to exceptionally large out-of-pocket expenses which could potentially lead to financial ruin and indeed, homelessness?
nichodemus
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nichodemus
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I agree with you somewhat; however, I am somewhat confused when you attribute substance abuse to being a symptom rather than the core issue. Wouldn't say, drugs such as cocaine or heroine lead to exceptionally large out-of-pocket expenses which could potentially lead to financial ruin and indeed, homelessness?


Meaning say, a low level of education leads to both a less available pool of well paid jobs for you, leading down the road to homelessness, whilst such a lack of awareness of the full effects of drugs due to said education level might lead to substance abuse.
Salvidian
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Salvidian
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Blacksmith

Because they don't live in a residence.

EmperorPalpatine
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EmperorPalpatine
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Jester

Some research has shown that people with mental health issues are more vulnerable to homelessness (the Mental Health Commission of Canada estimates 25 to 50 per cent of homeless people live with a mental health disorder).

Based on that info, couldn't the reverse also be true? (instead of just mental issues leading to homelessness, homelessness also leading to mental issues) Lacking economic stability leads to stress and stuff.
LlordMaso
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LlordMaso
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Peasant

Sometimes it is just a matter of luck in which economy class are you born..
but still, I believe that it is not person's fault if he was born poor but it will be his fault if he will die doing nothing to improve his life...

yuri26anime
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yuri26anime
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Peasant

Sometimes it is just a matter of luck in which economy class are you born..
but still, I believe that it is not person's fault if he was born poor but it will be his fault if he will die doing nothing to improve his life...


I agree with you Maso if you're born poor and die poor you did not do anything to improve yourself but if you're born poor and die rich you had only prove that being poor is just a matter of choice not a lifetime status
HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Grand Duke

I don't like that mindset. Just because you died poor doesn't mean you didn't try. Just because you try doesn't mean you'll succeed.

Not being able to pay the rent anymore can happen fast if you were already on the limit before and something happens. There are situations where you just can't get out without a certain input from outside. You can't get a house if you don't have a job. You can't get a job if you don't have a house. Watcha gonna do?

LlordMaso
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LlordMaso
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Peasant

I don't like that mindset. Just because you died poor doesn't mean you didn't try. Just because you try doesn't mean you'll succeed.


The main point was at least you have tried that's why I've also said
"his fault if he will die DOING NOTHING to improve his life..."
goumas13
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goumas13
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Regent

how much of the blame would you then attribute to homeless people (specifically adults) for creating their own situation? Hence, do we have an obligation to help them or no (and how much)?

Honestly, I can't answer the question quantitatively. However, I do think we have an obligation (as a society) to offer assistance to homeless people, regardless of the cause that led them to homelessness, not only for moral reasons, but also for economic ones. Homeless assistance can create positive externalities (i.e. a benefit which results from an activity which affects an otherwise uninvolved party who did not choose to incur benefit), like for example lower unemployment rate, greater productivity, less criminality etc., thus it can promote the interests of society as a whole.
Anyway, this is just my personal opinion.
Based on that info, couldn't the reverse also be true? (instead of just mental issues leading to homelessness, homelessness also leading to mental issues) Lacking economic stability leads to stress and stuff.

Yes, most certainly. Some researchers suggest that homeless people with and without mental illness have similar biographical and demographic profiles and that high levels of mental distress are common to all homeless persons, hence they claim that people who are homeless and mentally ill are not distinct from other homeless persons.
Not being able to pay the rent anymore can happen fast if you were already on the limit before and something happens. There are situations where you just can't get out without a certain input from outside

Quite true, considering that housing costs consume a large share of a person's income (more than one-third is spent on rent). Homelessness can be an extreme form of housing market malfunction.
EmperorPalpatine
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EmperorPalpatine
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Jester

Homeless assistance can create positive externalities

It could also be enabling negative habbits if it's not done right. Teaching them useful skills that they could use to work is far better than endless handouts.

Homelessness can be an extreme form of housing market malfunction.

The 'malfunction' was the rubber band snapping back. People had been living beyond their means and spending more than they could afford.
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