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Describe how your perspective has evolved or changed through this course and how you believe it will continue to evolve after the course. Explain how this experience has influenced your ability to create positive social change beyond the term of this course.If you choose to engage in the social issue you researched in this course, address how you will prevent burnout and engage others in your causeThis is on homelessness

Running head: HOMELESSNESS CAMPAIGN Homelessness
Angela Bailey
Walden University 1 HOMELESSNESS 2
Homelessness Introduction
The problem of homelessness is challenging because there are ideological, social and
economic factors that impact both how people become homeless and how societies address the
issue. While it is common to blame the homeless for their plight, others believe that sociological
factors and mental health problems play the largest role in preventing all Americans from having
a roof over their heads. In assessing this problem and potential solutions, it is important to
acknowledge the breadth and scope of the issue and define some of the primary causative factors.
Summary of the Problem
According to a HUD report, there were over 640,000 homeless in the US in January of
2010 (Curtis, Corman, Noonan, & Reichman, 2013). This included nearly 80,000 families with a
total of over 240,000 family members (Curtis et al., 2013). Though social depictions of the
homeless often show single, unemployed, and potentially functional adults as the primary
population of poor Americans, the HUD report openly challenges this view. Homelessness not
only impacts individuals but overwhelmingly affects families and young children.
As a culture, we believe ideologically that people should strive to have a roof over their
heads and provide for their families. Subsequently, when we see homeless people living on the
streets, we perceive this as a failure of these individuals to take the basic steps necessary to
function in a modern society. There was a dramatic increase in homelessness in the 1980s that
was a product of some economic conditions, lack of a social response, and the
deinstitutionalization of mental illness in many states (Curtis et al., 2013). Homelessness has
led to unprecedented income inequality and a sharp increase in the cost of housing, putting many
low-income families out on the streets (Curtis et al., 2013). Skyrocketing rents and the high cost HOMELESSNESS 3 of living in many urban settings led to a rise in homeless resulting from the inability to match
low-wage earning income with basic living expenses (Poppe, 2011).
Potential Solutions
In defining options, it is important to recognize the factors that influence homelessness.
The National Coalition for the Homeless (2009) maintained that about 20-25 percent of homeless
people in the United States suffer from some form of mental illness. These researchers
compared this figure to the general population, which only has about a 6% mental illness rate.
Subsequently, the NCOH and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
contend that assessing the connection between mental illness and homelessness could help to
address this problem. Specifically, these organizations maintained that people with severe
mental illness are unable to carry out essential activities of daily living, including self-care and
timely attendance to work duties (NCOH, 2009). Though mental illness is not a contraindication
for satisfactory job performance, it is a risk factor for poor attendance and workplace turnover,
which can contribute to the economic conditions that result in homelessness.
Also, homelessness begets homelessness. It is more likely for the children of parents who
have had shelter, food, or income insecurity to raise children with similar problems (Fargo,
Munley, Byrne, Montgomery, & Culhane, 2013). Like poverty and substance use disorders,
there are cyclical elements that impact the continuation of homelessness in families that should
be taken into consideration when assessing this problem. Correspondingly, people who are
homeless are at greater risk of contracting life-altering diseases, including tuberculosis, HIV, and
hepatitis B, making it more difficult for them to achieve employment and secure housing
(NCOH, 2009). Potential solutions must address the underlying social problems that translate
into homelessness, including cycles of mental illness, substance abuse, and shelter/food/income HOMELESSNESS 4 insecurity.
Individual Actions and Outcomes
People often mistake the concept of individual actions for different behaviors. Whether a
person’s behaviors around homeless people are altered by open discussion of the issue or not, it
is unlikely that personal actions will make a considerable impact on this matter. It is more likely
that the most beneficial individual actions are those that help to define public perspective, drive
public policy, and create a voice for the underserved. This can include becoming an advocate for
public policies that support programming for the homeless. This can include public health
programming, improved education, job resource support, and services that are oriented around
creating pathways to reduce insecurity. The following are three individual actions and the
desired outcomes that can support this kind of necessary change to reduce homelessness:
1. Become a volunteer to support advocacy for the homeless in an urban setting. The expected
outcome would be to provide direct support and services to help homeless integrate strategies to
find shelter, participate in activities of daily living, get proper medical treatment, and transition
off the streets.
2. Vote and become a public voice for change. Increasingly, our society is becoming less
paternalistic and more exclusionary. As a result, our government has lost sight of the role that it
should play in protecting the needs of those who cannot take care of themselves. The homeless
is a population in need of social, political, and economic support. The expected outcome of this
would be maintaining support for social programs that can help transition the homeless off the
3. Contribute monetarily or of your time to charities that provide direct services for the
homeless. If the government is unable to address the needs of this population effectively, it is HOMELESSNESS 5 important that charitable organizations develop strategies for support. Support may include
organizations that directly address the needs of individuals with mental illness who may be
unable to seek out employment or secure income in other ways. Organizations like Goodwill
Industries commonly work with populations that are underserved and cannot make headway in
reducing their income/housing/food insecurity.
Homelessness is a greater issue in some areas than others and will demand a different solution
according to one's community and their resources (Fargo, Munley, Byrne, Montgomery, &
Culhane, 2013).
Objectives for Now and 5-10 Years
Current goals include meeting the mental health, immediate safety and nutritional needs
of people who are homeless. This can include supporting organizations through monetary or
time donations that can contribute to providing food and shelter resources for the homeless.
Public health organization can also use social support and volunteers to provide direct care and
services for those who are mentally ill, unable to provide for themselves, and unable to make
transitions through work or education programs. An individual can also support an explicit
social message of the importance of a response to the needs of the homeless that reflects a
paternalistic approach and respect for the dignity of all people. We can try and project that over
the next five to 10 years, these kinds of actions should not only fuel local programming but must
also define a national agenda to improve conditions for the homeless. Without this kind of
driving force, it may be impossible to creating lasting change for people who have slipped
through the cracks. HOMELESSNESS 6 Conclusion
The problem of homelessness is difficult to address because there are many different
types of homeless people. Individuals with mental illness who cannot care for themselves may
be unable to pay for and maintain the shelter. These people also experience income and food
insecurity. Mental illness, though, only makes up about one-fourth of all individuals who are
homeless. The other three-fourths include individuals who are unable to work, people who
cannot find the resources necessary to secure employment and families with young children who
cannot dig their way out of a deep economic hole. Subsequently, the problem of homeless
requires a variety of strategies to reduce its impacts. HOMELESSNESS 7 References: Curtis, M. A., Corman, H., Noonan, K., & Reichman, N. E. (2013). Life shocks and
homelessness. Demography; Silver Spring, 50(6), 2227-2253.
Fargo, J., Munley, E. A., Byrne, T. H., Montgomery, A. E., & Culhane, D. P. (2013). Communitylevel characteristics associated with variation in rates of homelessness among families
and single adults. American Journal of Public Health, suppl., 103(2), S340-7.
National Coalition for the Homeless (2009). Mental Illness and Homelessness. Retrieved from
Poppe, B. (2011). Interagency collaboration moves U.S. closer to ending homelessness. Public
Manager; Alexandria, 40(4), 28-31.


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