These recent words of our Holy Father pose a special challenge for American Catholics. They call us to renewed reflection and effective action on the national disgrace of widespread homelessness in our midst and the broader housing crisis that undermines the life and dignity of so many of our sisters and brothers who lack a decent place to live. In these brief reflections, we seek to call attention to the moral and human dimensions of the housing issue, to review the teaching of the Church in this area, to reflect on our own experience, and to suggest some future directions for national housing policy. We come to this issue as pastors, not policy-makers, as teachers, not housing technicians.
Why Are People Homeless? Housing A lack of affordable housing and the limited scale of housing assistance programs have contributed to the current housing crisis and to homelessness.
Recently, foreclosures have also increased the number of people who experience homelessness. Poverty Homelessness and poverty are inextricably linked. Poor people are frequently unable to pay for housing, food, childcare, health care, and education.
Difficult choices must be made when limited resources cover only some of these necessities. Often it is housing, which absorbs a high proportion of income that must be dropped.
If you are poor, you are essentially an illness, an accident, or a paycheck away from living on the streets. According to the United States Census Bureauthe national poverty rate in was While the poverty rate has been slowly declining sincea couple of factors account for continuing poverty: Lack of Employment Opportunities — With unemployment rates remaining high, jobs are hard to find in the current economy.
Even if people can find work, this does not automatically provide an escape from poverty. Decline in Available Public Assistance — The declining value and availability of public assistance is another source of increasing poverty and homelessness and many families leaving welfare struggle to get medical care, food, and housing as a result of loss of benefits, low wages, and unstable employment.
Additionally, most states have not replaced the old welfare system with an alternative that enables families and individuals to obtain above-poverty employment and to sustain themselves when work is not available or possible.
Other major factors, which can contribute to homelessness, include: Lack of Affordable Health Care — For families and individuals struggling to pay the rent, a serious illness or disability can start a downward spiral into homelessness, beginning with a lost job, depletion of savings to pay for care, and eventual eviction.
Domestic Violence — Battered women who live in poverty are often forced to choose between abusive relationships and homelessness. Conference of Mayors identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness U. Conference of Mayors, Addiction — The relationship between addiction and homelessness is complex and controversial.
Many people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs never become homeless, but people who are poor and addicted are clearly at increased risk of homelessness.
There are three types of homelessness — chronic, transitional, and episodic — which can be defined as follows: Yet such persons represent a far smaller proportion of the population compared to the transitionally homeless. Transitional Homelessness Transitionally homeless individuals generally enter the shelter system for only one stay and for a short period.
Such persons are likely to be younger, are probably recent members of the precariously housed population and have become homeless because of some catastrophic event, and have been forced to spend a short time in a homeless shelter before making a transition into more stable housing.
Over time, transitionally homeless individuals will account for the majority of persons experiencing homelessness given their higher rate of turnover. Episodic Homelessness Those who frequently shuttle in and out of homelessness are known as episodically homeless.
They are most likely to be young, but unlike those in transitional homelessness, episodically homeless individuals often are chronically unemployed and experience medical, mental health, and substance abuse problems.
Persons living in poverty are most at risk of becoming homeless, and demographic groups who are more likely to experience poverty are also more likely to experience homelessness. Yet because of methodological and financial constraints, most studies are limited to counting persons who are in shelters or on the street.the country report that top causes of homelessness among families were: (1) lack of affordable housing, (2) unemployment, (3) poverty, and (4) low wages, in that order.
42 The same report found that the top four causes of homelessness among unaccompanied individuals were (1) lack of. REFERENCES AND ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Didenko, E. and Pankratz, N. “Substance Use: Pathways to homelessness? Or a way of adapting to street life?”.
|Our Social Teaching||Homelessness in the United States: Trends and demographics By John Wihbey The problem of homelessness is a particularly difficult one for researchers to understand and journalists to cover.|
|Homelessness in the United States: Trends and demographics - Journalist's Resource||Improved data[ edit ] Over the past decades, the availability and quality of data on homelessness has improved considerably, due, in part, to initiatives by the United States government. Sincethe US Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued an Annual Homeless Assessment Report, which revealed the number of individuals and families that were homeless, both sheltered and unsheltered.|
SF Chronicle, other media outlets blanket coverage of SF homelessness. The State of Homelessness in America.
Learn more about where we stand on homelessness in communities across the United States. Read the Report. Homelessness in Canada has grown in size and complexity by While historically known as a crisis only of urban centres such as Montreal, Laval, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto the increasing incidence of homelessness in the suburbs is necessitating new services and resources..
The demographic profile of Canada's homeless population is also changing. The ALS community needs your help to put an end to this devastating disease.
When you participate, advocate, and donate, you advance the fight to find the cure and lead us toward a world without ALS!