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Research Paper on Homelessness

This is a free example research paper on Homelessness:
Homelessness is a very huge problem that America has come to face. Millions of people, including children, families, babies, veterans, and the elderly live day after day without food, water or a roof over their heads. People that are mentally ill also have it tough on the streets, which can be extremely confusing to them, and dangerous to the rest of society. This problem must be solved soon, and therefore should be addressed as a major crisis that is affecting our society.

The number of homeless families with children has increased significantly over the past decade or so. They are among the fastest growing segments of the homeless population. Together they are approximately 40% of all people who are homeless. Sadly, rural areas contain the largest group of homeless families, single mothers, and children. Emotions hit home when children and babies can be pictured living in an alley with only dreams of warmth, while normal middle class citizens stroll by wearing coats and mittens without even appreciating them.

People have not always had to suffer with homelessness. Though the problem has almost always existed, it had not reached a severe level until the early 1970’s. With every war there has been a small trickle of homeless veterans to follow, but the Vietnam War and Korean War left a wave of many people without anywhere to go. This was just the start of the problem. Many homeless people lived in places called Skid Row. A place with cheap bars, entertainment, and very cheap housing in buildings called SROs, or Single Room Occupancy. Then cities started to grow, and in the mid 1970s One million SROs were replaced with parking lots, buildings and apartments. Skid Row eventually vanished. Then the government decided to decriminalize what was left to control. That means there were a great many homeless people that would normally be arrested under these conditions, still roaming the streets. Women and children started to filter in to the homeless scene, and then in a huge recession in the 1980s 11,000,000 people were laid off (9.7% of all jobs). The numbers of homeless people soared. It didn’t stop here though. President Reagan and Bush dropped public housing funds from 30 billion dollars to 6.7 billion, a net loss of 37,800 houses per year. By the beginning of the 1990s, over one million people were on waiting lists for homes.

The one category that most people assume all homeless fall into is the undeserving homeless, or “bums”. These are usually men in their 40s or 50s who sit around all day and do nothing. They don’t try and help themselves or others. They lie and cheat and honestly deserve nothing because they could never give anything if they were forced to. They make up a very small group in fact, about 4% of all homeless.

Drugs are everywhere on the streets. It is estimated that 20% of all people living on the streets use hard drugs daily. Such drugs as cocaine, heroine, and morphine plague certain areas. AIDS often spreads like wildfire among people who share un-sterilized needles, and once a person contracts the HIV virus, they become a statistic in the disabled category.

Even the people with full time jobs are in need of permanent residence. These people live on eating scraps of food from trash cans, and possible meals from shelters on occasion, but those are usually three times a week at dinner, or some other type of schedule. People who have homes rarely think, nor can comprehend what terrible things that the homeless have to go through. They live in abandoned buildings, cars, buses, boxes, on park benches and underground. They eat bits of old fruit and meat with the mold and green sludge scrapped off.

I have realized that there seem to be two main elements in saving a homeless person. The government needs to help homeless people get back on their feet. They need to make sure also that homeless people don’t abuse systems such as social security and housing. Also, the homeless need to get up on their own two feet, for themselves. Finding jobs, such as selling “Homeless Newspapers” seems to be a common first step. A vendor gets the papers for free or low cost, sells them for something like a dollar and keeps 55 cents, or a little more than half, for each sold. The homeless can then use this money to pay for food, shelter, and etcetera. Many shelters exist whose primary goal is to help the homeless get a job and home. They offer computer teachers, landscapers, welders, and other types of craft that can be used in society today. So if the government is willing to help get the homeless roused into the wanting of a better life, and they wish to follow through, then I think we could find a better, faster way to end the nation’s problem of homelessness.

We see them as a crowd, one entity; we call them the homeless, as if it identifies who they are. What most forget is that they are also people. These “people” with social disabilities or financial problems are abandoned by society and become homeless on the streets. And although many believe they don’t owe anyone help, a little generosity could go a long way on the road to lowering homeless numbers around the world.

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Research Paper on Homelessness
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Mar 9, 2011

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