Homelessness: Force It To Go Or Accept The Fact? Argumentative Essay Example
Homelessness in America is a debilitating matter to be dealt with urgency or a moderate and natural social phenomenon that does not require expeditious actions. The phenomenon is, more often than not, disturbing for a society and nation. More than disturbing, it is rather ironical to see that America, the home of millionaires, is also the home of homeless. It is common to see panhandlers and people who are living in exile. As per the report of US Department of Housing and Urban Development, around four lakhs people were homeless in streets, traditional housing programs, and shelters. One may argue that this homelessness statistic does not constitute a serious issue for the nation considering that it houses more than 300 million people.
This paper is an argumentative essay on the matter and presents arguments and counterarguments to provide a holistic understanding. However, the paper concludes that homelessness is a serious condition that is gradually devastating the society and the excuses cited by counter views do not lessen its gravity.
Delving deeper into the homelessness issue presents a gloomy picture and an ironical situation. As Homelessness has increased, so do corporate profits. So, is it the result of corporate greed, shrinking job market or cut-throat business competition?; whatever be the case, homelessness is an urgent issue to be approached proactively, statistics proves that. In 21st century, homelessness has emerged as a social issue of enormous public health significance.
Studies have established that homelessness affects physical, mental well-being of people and poses a threat to social harmony. As per Mental Health Services Administration, 20-25percent homeless population in America suffers from mental illness. By contrast, only 6 percent of Americans are mentally ill.
Among the homeless population is the subset of people who experience this condition either for a considerable time span or in episodic intervals over many years. Defined as chronic homelessness, it is the state that make individuals physically, socially, and psychologically vulnerable. Studies have indicated that substance abuse, psychiatric disability, and medical co-morbidities are prevalent in this population. A study conducted in New York found that mortality rates were four times higher in chronically homeless people.
Gloomier is the fact that the nation housed around two lakhs chronically homeless persons in 2005. The condition, however, is improved since 2010 launch of opening doors and numbers of people experiencing it have declined by 21 percent. More efforts need to be done to achieve the target of eliminating it.
Homelessness has become a worrying factor in lieu of growing violence against these people. In 2013, Americans experienced 23 percent increase in violence compared to 2012, as per the statistics provided by National Coalition for Homeless( NCH).
Succinctly, homelessness affects not only personal growth but also the societal and national growth. Operating and maintaining shelters, medical services, and daycares are costly affairs that incur a tremendous burden on the Government and administration. Most of the money for these programs are collected by way of taxpayers amount and private donations. Many programs remain unfunded that means these people are provided with essential services only. Subsequently, people find their way in panhandling.
Scholars have argued that homeless people, especially panhandlers, affect tourism and local businesses. A visibility of homeless persons adversely affects the amount of tourists dollars. Most of the times, remedies used by the Government has been putting strict bans on panhandling or adopting anti-loitering ordinances. However, these laws are of less use if alternative solutions are not made. Efforts must be increased to impart them the skill-based employment so that they can contribute to economic development of the nation.
Taken together, these views present homelessness as a blot on society that disturbs social harmony, individual well-being, children's development and environmental cleanliness. On the negative side, it increases violence, illness, and societal clashes. These aspects make it a high social issue to be addressed with frenzy.
However, there are scholars who do not view homelessness as a serious matter. The argument put forwarded: majority of people who have ever experienced homelessness are able to return to conventional housing in a brief time span. A research conducted at the University of Pennsylvania revealed that the most common duration of homelessness is just 1-2 days. Metraux et al. (2001) conducted a study in Philadelphia and identified that around 3/4th population who used emergency shelters was homeless only once or twice. Additionally, they stayed in those houses for less than 60 days.
It has also been argued that the Government has put a new thrust, and lots of policies and programs focus on ending this social conundrum. State of Homelessness Report in America 2014 estimated that 31 states saw a decrease in the situation, while 20 states experienced more homelessness than earlier. The report further indicated that from 2012-2013, overall homeless has shrank by 3.7 percent. As per the report, chronically homeless individuals constitute around 7 percent of the population. HEARTH Act, passed in 2009, is focusing on imparting permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing; the changes are being noticed since 2013 with substantial improvement on housing assistance for these people.
Further, a justification has been provided by presuming laziness and hostility in homeless individuals. However, the argument is not sound, as per the statistics provided by surveys. A comprehensive Urban Institute study identified that around 45 percent homeless individuals did some paid jobs during the previous month.
More mitigating arguments include inequality arguments, i.e., homeless stems from poverty, low wages, and unemployment; it is a sign of social inequality, and every society is unjust and unequal to an extent. However, in justifying inequality we fail to recognize every homeless individual has a different story, and we can't ignore our responsibility to help homeless people.
The primary focus of counterarguments is that the numbers of homeless people are not significant, and those who have experienced it are able to return to homes. As such, people who face chronic homelessness are few. However, these arguments can't be defended on the basis of numbers of people.
The argument from tourism can be countered because HUD( Department of Housing and Urban Development) reported that approximately 70 percent people live in shelters, not in streets. Thus, there are fewer chances of tourism getting affected by visibility of homelessness.
Still, it is a bitter fact that American society has been reeling under this problem, and it is imperative to focus more on program implementation in an efficient manner. As the studies have revealed, homeless is an individual and social stigma and affects the society only in an adverse way. Furthermore, it is not too expensive to fight this issue. Studies have asserted that it is cheaper to fight homelessness that to going with it. Leaving a homeless people costs around $31,000 in the form of law enforcement, hospitals, and community services. By contrast, housing costs will only incur $10,000 per person, Central Florida Commission on Homelessness reported.
There are some counterviews stating that homeless is not a serious issue because numbers of affected people are very less. Additionally, the linkage between homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse is not unanimously proved.
Considering the views for and against, it is clear that American societies face issues because of homelessness. Though the incidence may vary according to cities, there is no point in leaving the issue unnoticed. Government has run various programs to ameliorate the condition, but there is a need for a practical implementation. Housing and shelter policies need to be more comprehensive to address the cause of the matter.
Carol, L.M.Caton, Wilkins Carol and Anderson Jacquelyn. "People Who Experience Long-Term Homelessness: Characteristics and Interventions." US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Policy, Development, and Research, 2007.
Culhane, D., S. Metraux and T. & Hadley. "Public Service Reductions Associated with Placements of Homeless Persons with Severe Mental Illness in Supportive Housing." Housing Policy Debate (2002): 107-163.
Culhane, Dennis. Five Myths About America's Homeless. 11 July 2010. 26 March 2015 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/09/AR2010070902357.html#>.
Fish, Sandra. Violence Grows Against Homeless, Sparking Push for Crime Status. 25 August 2014. 27 March 2015 <http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/8/25/violence-againsthomeless.html>.
National Alliance to End Homeless. "The State of Homelessness in America 2014." 2014.
National Coalition for the Homeless. "Mental Illness and Homeless." 2009.
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