The causes and challenges of homelessness

Homelessness is the lack of proper housing. In 2005, close to 100 million people globally were homeless. They either lived on the streets, squatters, abandoned houses or cars. Others lived in refugee camps and public land. Homelessness is one of the major concerns particularly in nations such as the United States where close to 40% of the people are homeless. It is an international crisis that needs to be addressed.

The number of homeless people is skyrocketing day by day. Homelessness is caused by several reasons, the main one being poverty and lack of employment. Others include; migration, wars, and mental illnesses. The Vietnam and Korean wars rendered a large number of people homeless in the United States. Natural disasters, disownment, and social exclusion are also causes of homelessness.

Several challenges are facing the homeless. They are not only abused and violated but they also lack access to medical care, banking services, and communication technology. They lack personal security and are discriminated against. The homeless live in places with low sanitation. This exposes them to diseases. With a high number of people with mental illnesses on the streets, the public is not secure. Close to 20% of those without homes take drugs such as bhang and cocaine. Sharing needles during drug injection leads to the widespread of HIV/AIDS.

Due to a lack of proper health care, a large number of them suffer from illnesses such as sexually transmitted infections and respiratory diseases because they are exposed to harsh climatic conditions and climate change. They also lack necessities such as food and clothing. Most people living on the streets put on tatters and feed on food from trash cans.

The number of youths without homes is on the rise together with that of women who run away from their homes due to violence. Homelessness can be short term or long term. Short term homelessness is caused by disasters such as floods, while the long term is caused by factors such as wars and evictions.

This high number of homeless people has contributed to social vices such as crime. Homelessness has not only affected the homeless but it also poses dangers to the public. Although organizations and governments have come up with strategies and programs such as giving necessities, skills, and education to the homeless. They should intensify their efforts as the number of homeless people is increasing. Homelessness is not only caused by poverty and lack of employment. It is also caused by war, migration and mental illnesses.

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