Free Essay About Homelessness In Boston
In the United States, the increasing problem of homelessness is a social issue that poses threats to development in the country. It is estimated that for a population of 3.5 million homeless individuals, 1 million constitutes of children every year in the United States. One of the cities that are challenged by the problem of homelessness is the Boston in Massachusetts. For instance, according to the 34th Annual Homeless Census the number of homeless children, women, and men reached 7,255 in the year 2013. This was translated as 3.8 percent increase from 6,992 individuals counted in the year 2012. This indicates that the prevailing preventive measures employed to mitigate this problem are not effective. The research also indicated that the number of the individual homeless adults, homeless families, and the number of the persons in the families increased by 3.3%, 10.5%, and 5.8% respectively. However, the number of the report indicated that there is a relief for the homeless people living in the streets because the number decreased by 6.7 percent. According to these statistics, it is evident the issue of homelessness is a threatening problem to not the only city of Boston but also the whole state at large. Therefore, this paper shed light on this social problem in Boston and the preventive measures that are being employed to counter the problem.
The cause of the homelessness in the Boston has been associated with various monetary factors. One of the fundamental factors that are enhancing the homelessness is the increasing poverty level that is associated with the current macroeconomic factors in the state. These factors include the long trend of the economy stagnation, high rates of unemployment, and the increasing rates of rent across the state. In addition, the extensive federal spending reduction is also associated with the problem of homelessness in Boston. As a result, the rate of eviction in the city is increasing because people are financially constrained to pay their rents.
Another major cause of the homelessness in the Boston can also be associated with the closure of the Long Island Bridge. The Long Island Bridge was closed on October 8, 2014 was closed after the state inspection identified that the bridge that connected the Long Island and the Boston Harbor was not appropriate for the vehicles. As a result, the Long Island Shelter was closed. As a result, this affected more than 700 homeless individuals who seek shelter in the state and the residents that were located there through the transitional programs.
The natural phenomena such as adverse climate condition such as snow also contribute to the increasing rate of homelessness. According the 34th Annual Homeless Census, Boston city have more people accommodated in the emergency center that any other 25 largest cities in the United States. For instance, the number of the emergency shelter increased to 10.5 percent that reflects an increase of 1,511 individual in 2013 from 1,511 individual in the previous year.
Other minor causes of homelessness in Boston include addiction causes and issues related to disabilities. People living with issues are related to disabilities such as mental illness, old-age impairment, and substance abuse are more prone to the homelessness than other people. For instance, according to Friedman (9), 80 percent of homeless individuals were associated with eviction by their landlord and other tenants due to old age impairments, substance abuse, and mental illness. In addition, such issues impend the individual’s ability to secure a job, maintain steady relationships with friends and family members. As a result, this makes unable to maintain houses and to pay rents, and they end up on streets, hence increasing the number of homeless individuals. Similarly, people who are addicted to drugs are unable to pay for mortgage or pay rent, and hence have high chances of becoming homeless.
The issue of homelessness in Boston is accompanied by various societal effects. For instance, the homeless individuals suffer from emotional and physical health. Children from the homeless families or who has been departed by their families are associated with poor performance, behaviors issues, and mental health. Friedman argues that the homeless children are more prone to food insecurity, health problems, serious underweight issues, and developmental delays (6).
Older individuals are not spared neither; when they suffer from a common disease they are challenged by inaccessibility to medical help, appropriate houses, and food. In most cases the homeless individuals especially adults, have a higher risk of being drug and alcohol addicts and also contracting epidemic diseases such as HIV/AIDs. According to One Family website, the adverse effects associated with the social issue of homelessness have been well recorded in the City of Boston and the state of Massachusetts at large. For instance, homeless children are more likely to develop learning disabilities and repeat grades than the other children. In addition, prolonged homeless problem shows a significant increase rate of mental health and depression among the parents and the children.
Various research conducted by regional economist indicates there is a significant relationship between the increasing level of homelessness and adverse effect on the local economy. One of the major economic problem associated with the homelessness is the unemployment caused by the homeless individuals who cannot secure jobs. In addition, business are also anticipated to lose a significant proportion of revenue due to the presence of the homeless individuals in the business areas. This is because, the increasing number of the homeless individuals has a significant effect on the presence of the customers, hence making such areas undesirable for existing and potential customers (Records). It is devastating for the customers to do their shopping or consume various commodities in the presence of the homeless individuals. Therefore, it is clear that the issues of homelessness has a significant effect on both economic and social cohesion, and thus calls for immediate preventive measures.
Several preventive measures have been employed and continue to be implemented by the government and non-government organizations. Various organizations such as Family Aid Boston has formulated homelessness preventive programs that interact with the families in order to mitigate the problems that make them prone to being homeless. The organization also offers financial assistance to cater for the utility and rent for the eligible people (FamilyAid Boston). A non-profit organizations such as The Bridge Fund of Massachusetts provides zero-interest loans to the families, elders, disabled and individuals who are prone to become homeless. Accompanied by the financial services, the organization also offers all-inclusive services that help the individual to address the cause of their financial problems.
Government through the Gov. Charlie Baker have been providing homelessness programs such as financing the emergency homelessness services. In last month, the governor proposed a new preventive program by creating new financial assistance for the preventive programs. In addition, the program also aims at reestablished a program to accommodate the homeless people suffering from mental diseases and other related conditions (Schoenberg). Other programs such as Lift Up (ALU) are designed to empower women with children so that they can overcome the risk of losing their houses. Other organizations such as Cambridge homeless shelter have been prepared to accommodate homeless individual following the anticipated snowfall in the Boston area. When Boston announced a snow emergency in January, the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter is kept open throughout the day. This shelter allows the homeless guest of the previous night to stay until evening while other guests are expected to arrive at normal opening hours at 7 p.m. or earlier (Atske and Schugart).
In conclusion, it is evident that homelessness continues to be a social and economic threat to the people of Boston. Though the preventive measures are put in place, this social problem continues to deteriorate. Therefore, all stakeholder should formulate the effective measure that can address this issue effectively. The government should also enhance the programs that address the causal roots of the homelessness problem. For instance, the government and other business in the local economy should engage in measures that create employment in order to mitigate the problem of poverty and hence homelessness.
In addition, the government should also ensure that all infrastructure such as The Long Island Bridge is safe for use in order to reduce the homelessness caused by such infrastructures. Also, the individual in the city have the role to play in order to reduce the homelessness in Boston. The city residents need to work hard and avoid activities that increase their risks on losing their housing. Such activates includes the use of drugs and alcohol. The individuals should also learn how to manage their finances and plan in adverse to avoid being evicted from their houses due to lack of rent or failure to pay the mortgage.
Atske, Sara A., and Annie Schugart. "Shelters Prepare To Accommodate Homeless During Blizzard | News | The Harvard Crimson." Harvard News | The Harvard Crimson. The Harvard Crimson, 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2015/1/27/homeless-population-blizzard-accommodations/>.
Boston Public Health Commission. "City of Boston: 34th Annual Homeless Census." Emergency Shelter Commission. N.p., 16 Dec. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <http://www.bphc.org/healthdata/other-reports/Documents/2013_2014_Key_Findings_ESC.pdf>.
FamilyAid Boston. "Homelessness Prevention - Services for Families - FamilyAid Boston." FamilyAid Boston. N.p., 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <http://www.familyaidboston.org/ServicesforFamilies/HomelessnessPrevention.aspx>.
Friedman, Donna Haig, et al. "Children and Homelessness in Massachusetts." New England Journal of Public Policy 25.1 (2013): 8.
Johnston, Katie. "Boston Has Highest Homeless Population Among 25 Cities Surveyed Nationwide - Business - The Boston Globe." BostonGlobe.com. The Boston Globe, 11 Dec. 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/12/11/boston-has-highest-homeless-population-among-cities-surveyed-nationwide/MFMhhCbZZFKtQezR7xAVJL/story.html>.
Records, John. "The Business Impact of Increased Homelessness – North San Francisco Bay Area, Sonoma, Marin, Napa Counties - Archive." North Bay Business Journal. N.p., 31 Dec. 2012. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/66595/the-business-impact-of-increased-homelessness/>.
Schoenberg, Shira. "Gov. Charlie Baker Proposes New Fund to Address Family Homelessness in Massachusetts." Masslive.com. Mass Live, 2 Mar. 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/03/gov_charlie_baker_creates_new.html>.
The Bridge Fund of Massachusetts, Inc. "About The Bridge Fund of Massachusetts." About. The Bridge Fund of Massachusetts, Inc, 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <http://www.tbfom.org/about/>.
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