Primary Causes of Homelessness

Written by nellie day
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Homelessness is a significant problem in nearly every society, even in seemingly wealthy, developed nations such as ours. Though you can mostly find them centred in large metropolitan hubs, homeless individuals can be found throughout the country. Unfortunately, there are not enough resources available to tackle the numerous reasons and conditions that lead to homelessness, which means that these conditions will persist, leading to more homeless citizens.


Addiction is one of the biggest causes of homelessness. Drug and alcohol addictions can be expensive for a person to maintain and their effects, not to mention the withdrawal periods, can lead to job loss and alienation from family or other loved ones who would otherwise be willing to help and support the individual. Some addicts who become desperate for their next fix will find themselves living on the streets.

Time Frame

According to the Crisis Charity, the amount of time a person remains homeless can determine how likely they are to remain homeless for long periods of time, if not indefinitely. The Crisis Center cites the four-week rule, which states that a person becomes accustomed to the homeless lifestyle and acclimated to the culture after spending four weeks on the streets. Therefore, the mere experience of being homeless may lead individuals to remain on the street.


The demographics of a city or region oftentimes can contribute to homelessness. When certain industries such as the automobile industry move overseas, many local jobs go with them. Cities with high densities and urban metropolises also can be expensive to live in, meaning that individuals who were barely making ends meet may not be able to provide for themselves or their families indefinitely. Unfortunately, many of these homeless feel that they must remain in these areas because they are familiar with their layouts and feel that they house most of the region's jobs. Though both of these factors may be true, many individuals in large metro areas are unable to pull themselves out of homelessness. Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Detroit and Seattle are just a few of the nation's large cities that have high homeless populations.


For some men, women and children, the break-up of a relationship can cause homelessness. If one spouse was more dependent on the other who is suddenly no longer in the picture, the initial spouse may not be able to be self-supportive or pay off any bills or debt that was collected together. For children, disagreements with parents or the desire to be independent leave many youths to break ties with their families, which often results in a life on the streets.


Every case of homelessness is different, and it is a common misconception that homeless people can pull themselves out of their situation by their bootstraps if they so desired. Though that phrase may be more true for some than for others, many individuals who make up the homeless population are unable to care for themselves due to a mental or physical disability.

Many homeless people have mental disorders such as schizophrenia, manic depression, bipolar disorder or other conditions that they neither monitor with medication nor seek treatment for. Others, such as some Vietnam War veterans, have physical ailments such as a loss of limbs, hearing or eyesight that prevent them from obtaining or holding a job. These mental and physical ailments can be compounded by their inability to pay medical bills, which prevents them from receiving the proper medical care.

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