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15 Things You Didn’t Know about the Homeless Epidemic

25 May 2021

Not Everyone Is as Lucky as You to Have a Shelter over Their Head during These Trying Times. Find Out More about Homelessness.

We’re a channel for future billionaires, but that doesn’t mean we ignore the real social issues around us in the world. We’ve uncovered some interesting facts about homelessness that bust some common misconceptions and hopefully leave our Aluxers inspired.

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With that out of the way, let’s move forward with the article.

1

Homelessness Isn’t Just a 3rd World Problem

You might think that homelessness is a poverty problem linked to places like India, Bangladesh or Uganda, but the facts say that almost 60% of Americans will spend at least a year of their life BELOW the poverty line. So, according to these facts homelessness affects everyone, from third world to first world.

What is the reason for the growing number of people without homes?

In a country like the US, workers earning minimum wage can’t afford a one-bedroom apartment. On top of that, minimum wage hasn’t kept up with the cost of living. For example, the cost of a two bed-room apartment increased by 41% from 2000 to 2009.

2

People Aren’t on the Streets Just Because of Money

When you think of people living on the streets it’s easy to think it’s just a case of not having money for housing. But many people who make it onto the streets are there because they are fleeing something even more sinister that makes the streets seem like a better option.

A 2012 study conducted in Minnesota found that almost half of homeless women were on the street because of domestic abuse. Sadly, on the street the violence against women doesn’t stop.

92% of homeless women reported having been physically or sexually assaulted. A quarter of young homeless women had gone back to the abusive relationship because they had nowhere else to go.

Many war-torn countries create refugees fleeing for their safety. When they get to a safer country, they often don’t have papers, personal identity numbers and bank accounts so aren’t able to be part of the normal economy and rent a temporary shelter.

Another reason is natural disasters, according to Homeless World Cup, in a country like Indonesia for example, there are 3 million homeless people. In 2018, there were 857,500 newly displaced people due to natural disasters and violence.

3

It’s Not All Just a Lawless Society – Each Community Has a Code

Don’t think that living on the streets is just a lawless society. Communities of people form regions and there are definite acceptable codes of conduct to obey if you want to remain welcome there. Ralph Anderson’s article in the Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless explains that “Carelessness with respect to any of these factors can result in victimization.”

Perhaps there is a rule that you only bed down at a certain time, or that you can’t infringe on someone else’s sleeping place. Being part of a community can help with personal security so it’s essential to stick to the code.

4

Men Are More Likely to Homeless Than Women

It is hard to get exact statistics of street dwelling people in many countries, but in the USA which is well surveyed, individual men make up more than 70% of the homeless population, the rate can be as high as 92% in states like Louisiana.

Cultural Weekly adds, “A factor that can make it difficult to determine true statistics on homelessness broken down my gender is the general inability to track the homeless population.”

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5

Mental Health Issues Are One of the Leading Causes of Homelessness

Many think that drug addiction is what gets people on the streets, but that is often secondary to mental health issues. A third of homeless people have severe mental illness, commonly this includes schizophrenia, severe depression, and bipolar disorder according to research by the Harvard Medical school.

When it comes to drug use, people addicted to drugs and alcohol and who are from a poor background ARE more likely to be at risk to homelessness. However, facts say the root cause of homelessness is mental health and the risk factor for ending up on the street increases exponentially.

6

Help Is Available – but It’s Often Hard for Homeless People to Adjust To

We know what you’re thinking, there are plenty of shelters available. But imagine you’re in a mentally vulnerable state and you need to share a room or perhaps a hall with a bunch of strangers and just fall in with a routine you have no control over. It’s a tall ask for someone in a good space of mind, it’s especially difficult for someone vulnerable.

The crowds, noise and routine can be difficult to adjust to, and because these types of institutions are often so limited in resources, a one size fits all approach is all that is practical.

Often these people have had experiences with institutions before. A Harvard medical School study found that half of people applying to shelters had been in foster care or a psychiatric hospital before. Again, showing that these people had many struggles long before homelessness.

7

It Is Not Illegal In Every Country and Criminalizing Homelessness Doesn’t Stop It

If you think you can just put-up signs and say you can’t sleep on the streets, or put spikes on every city surface to prevent people from sitting or sleeping in your city, then think again. Those people don’t just magically become homed because you outlaw them. This just causes further trauma for homeless people. It also puts more strain on the criminal justice system or hospitals as these form temporary housing for many.

Creating safe places for people to transition from sleeping rough to housing is the only way to solve the problem. Cities who are embracing this method are seeing inspiring results. Cities that offer Housing First with lower barriers to entry have greater success in keeping homeless people housed. Once people are housed, they deal with the factors that caused them to become homeless, such as job loss, mental health issues, or addiction.

8

Homeless Communities Migrate with the Weather to Warmer Coastal Towns

You might have noticed that coastal towns have higher populations of homeless people. This is because they generally have a more temperate climate and are slightly more bearable to sleep on the streets.

Market Watch confirms that nearly half of the homeless people in the USA live in California.

9

Slums Give Us a False Sense of How Many People Are in Safe Permanent Homes

There isn’t a universal definition of homelessness. The definition varies from country to country.

In many countries there are the “hidden homeless”, which refers to those living in inadequate settlements like slums, squatting in abandoned structures or couch surfers.

For example, Ghana has an urban population of 14 million, 5.5 million of which live in slums. By another countries standards that might mean that over 30% of the population is homeless. In a country like Bulgaria, only 1,370 people were registered as homeless in a 2013 survey, but the real number is probably higher because only people with government-issued IDs who had signed up for support were counted.

10

Families and Homelessness

According to facts on  Familypromise.org a child is born into poverty every 33 seconds globally. That means that homelessness isn’t going anywhere soon. In the USA 2 million American children will fall victim to the home foreclosure crisis in the next two years. One in 5 children in the USA will live in poverty, which is the highest rate in the industrialised world.

Homelessness is a family affair, with homeless families making up 40% of the homeless population according to facts. This is also a really difficult position to start from, with little chance of escaping the homeless cycle.

If you are struggling with poverty and want a solution for it, check out 15 Steps to Force Your Way Out of Poverty. 

11

LGBT Homeless Stats and Facts

Coming out is hard but most people coming out don’t imagine they’d also be homeless! The number of LGBT homeless is staggering. The Prison Policy Initiative confirms that “LGBTQ youth compose 40% of the homeless youth population.”

Despite that frightening statistic, there are no programs to give support to the gay and transgender homeless youth.

One of the leading causes for LGBT homelessness is the rejection of their family. More than 1 in 4 children flee their homes when their family react negatively to the news that they are LGBT.

Added to this, it’s confirmed that gay homeless youth have a higher chance of suffering from major depression compared to heterosexual homeless youth and lesbian homeless women had a higher chance of struggling with PTS syndrome than heterosexual homeless young women.

12

Accessing Services When You Don’t Have an Address Is Impossible

Aluxers, what if a homeless person was ready to start turning their life around? How easy or difficult would it be for them to get a job?

Pretty da*m hard.

They can’t just get their CV printed at the closest printing shop. What would they say on their CV? Skills… managing to sleep on the hard pavement in the middle of winter with no blanket. Not exactly an employable skill, is it?

And how would a homeless put forward a postal address? They can’t.

So, even the most willing homeless person would encounter challenge, after challenge in trying to get themselves out from where they’ve landed.

13

Just Providing a House Isn’t the Entire Problem Solved

Being given a house is a wonderful idea, but that’s about as far as it goes. If a person doesn’t have money, or the mental capacity to function well, how will they maintain that house?

Where will they get money for food, or pay their bills?

Housing alone is not enough. People need to be educated, or they need to ensure their mental health is on track. There needs to be follow up, guidance and help to ensure that the person doesn’t fall back into their old habits… and all of that takes time and money.

We highly suggest you watch our video 15 Reasons Why MONEY Doesn’t Solve HOMELESSNESS to find out more facts about the problem. We delve further into this exact point and provide more insight into how money is not all that is needed to solve this drastic problem.

14

Homelessness Is Not a Bigger Problem, It’s Just More Visible

Aluxers, in 2018, there were 553,000 who identified as “homeless.” That was 15% less than reported in 2007. That figure may sound great, and it is, but according to facts, since 2017 there has been a steady increase of homelessness.

Covid has had a terrible impact on the homeless, which we’ll go into next.

15

How COVID Has Affected Homelessness

It’s no secret that unemployment has soured, and for a short while, eviction was banned in many cities.  

Market Watch has predicted that Covid will cause twice as much homelessness as the Great Recession. They add that the situation will be worse in California, who are already struggling with their homeless. Facts say that there will be an increase of 68% in homelessness in the Golden State, adding an additional 131,400 people to the already swollen numbers.  

If you’d like to really learn more about the homeless, be sure to listen to “Those People, The True Character of the Homeless By: Richard Bahr. It’s beautifully written and gives you a far greater insight into “those people”. It’s available for free on Audible, just go to alux.com/freebook.

Question:

What is your take on homelessness? We’d love to hear from you.