In 2007, nearly 672,000 people were homeless. It is easy to blame the use of drugs on the situation. Many people do not take the time to thoroughly look at the issue of homelessness and its causes because it does not directly affect them. Typically people do not want to associate with people who are as down on their luck as the homeless, so they attribute their plight to behaviour in which they would never engage, such as taking drugs. Examining the roots of homelessness should give you an accurate idea what role drugs play in the phenomenon.
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Homelessness was initially a European problem. The country of England specifically tried to do something about those with no place to go. This concept evolved into one whereby shelters were built for refuge. The problem with these "shelters" is that they were designed to discourage dependence. Therefore, the intended recipients found them disgusting and chose the street.
The function of homelessness is that it acts as a never-ending trap. People for one reason or another are put on the street and cannot find an avenue out.
Homelessness adds to crime statistics. Not only do those on the street commit crime, but they are vulnerable and have crimes committed against them.
In analysing records of homelessness you will find that the reasons for homelessness far exceed just the issue of drug use.
People get put on the street because they are evicted from their apartment or home for failing to pay rent. This may occur because of a loss of job or illness. Further, for the same reasons, a person may have their home mortgage foreclosed. Alcoholism and other substance abuse cause people to become homeless. Mental illness is one of the biggest causes of homelessness. The inability to think clearly and fit in with other people makes them outcasts. Children run away from home for various reasons and sometimes women run from abusive situations. In other words, there are as many reasons for homelessness as there are homeless people.
People sometimes think that homeless people want to be in their situation or that they are lazy. Rarely is that true. Homelessness is a situation that breeds hopelessness and locks a person into the inability to dig their way out.
To solve the problem of homelessness, it will take a grass roots effort. The federal government cannot pass all-encompassing legislation and monitor it. The plans for helping people must be done on a neighbourhood basis and endorsed by a municipal plan. People on the street need to be cared for and their health monitored. Additionally, however, the issues that cause homelessness have to be addressed. Abuse and treatment for the mentally ill are issues that are easily identifiable. Children must be protected. Finding ways to monitor juvenile problems is of paramount importance. If these measures are taken improvements should come.