The Top Reasons For Homelessness In America

Poverty impacts the quality of life for people all around the world. In fact, thirty-nine million seven hundred thousand Americans lived in poverty at some point throughout the year 2017, according to the U.S Census Bureau. This equates to one in eight people in the U.S living below the poverty line. The quality of life for many Americans is extremely poor due to this factor alone, yet it continues worsening for many every day due to lack of education, homelessness, and poor diets. In order to decrease these factors among poverty-stricken Americans, it is important to have programs that raise money for and awareness of the issues at hand.

The National Institute for Literacy conducted a survey in 2003 of the residents living in Detroit, Michigan through which they found that just under half of the residents over age sixteen lacked the ability to use basic reading, writing, and speaking skills throughout their everyday life. Now, taking into consideration that those who lack these skills are more likely to live in poverty, obtain health problems within their life, and become increasingly isolated in a world that now relies so heavily on technology, it becomes apparent that illiteracy is a problem linked directly to poverty. The lack of ability to read and write correlates directly with struggles to earn a living as well, which can ultimately lead to a lack of necessities in everyday life. Lacking education makes qualifying for a job more strenuous, which in turn leads to financial struggles and overall may lead to living in a poverty-stricken area and being poverty-stricken yourself. Although this issue seems irrelevant to some or seems as though there is an easy solution, it is deeper than that. It is not always as easy as just going to school or getting a job.

Being illiterate makes qualifying for a job increasingly difficult, and without a steady income, it is nearly impossible to purchase and maintain a house, nonetheless to have stable living conditions. The top three reasons for homelessness in America are cited as the absence of affordable housing, unemployment, and poverty (“Homelessness/Poverty”). While having a house is possible for those living below the poverty line, deciding to spend money on a house takes away money that could be spent on insurance, healthcare, food, and other necessities. These people and/or families are virtually an illness, accident, or paycheck away from living on the streets. Albeit purchasing a house may be important, lacking the resources to maintain a healthy lifestyle because of it comes with massive negative effects.

When living in an unstable home, or no home at all it becomes a major challenge to maintain a healthy physical state, especially for young and growing children. Although, on the other side, spending money on housing makes food less obtainable for those living in poverty, because their house is typically all or most of what they can afford. “In America, just over 16 million children live in households where they have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet” (“Homelessness/Poverty”). These children will grow up with a great chance of being malnourished and could potentially face other health problems throughout their lives due to this factor. In addition, poor neighborhoods lack access to health-promoting things such as exercising facilities and grocery stores with healthy options, which can greatly affect children living in poverty that are already prone to environmental threats to their health.

Inadequate education, being homeless, and lacking healthy options throughout day to day life poses a major threat to the quality and length of lives all around the country. While these problems have yet to cease, there are ways to improve them and to ultimately improve the quality of life for millions of Americans. Solutions can be as easy as spreading awareness about the issues that are occurring. Many Americans think that issues such as these do not occur near them, while in reality, they arise everywhere. In order to better these problems, it is important for citizens to educate themselves about the things that are going on around them, and to care, as well. Knowledge being more widespread will decrease illiteracy, homelessness, and poor diet rates all around the nation, which will allow for living in America to be the dream that many more people hoped for. 

If everyone were to become aware of their surroundings, it would, in turn, allow for funding programs to become more successful as well. ChildFund is one program which “aims to help families escape the cycle of poverty through various educational and livelihood programs.” It is said that they typically listen to groups of people to learn about specific needs at hand which allows them to find ways to fulfill those needs and help people through certain tragedies caused by poverty (Poverty and Education). This site allows people to donate, volunteer, and fundraise for deprived children who have the capacity but not the resources to improve their lives and reach their full potential. Another program similar to this is known as FRAC (Food Research and Action Center). “FRAC is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States” (“The Impact of Poverty”). The website for this organization is packed full of data concerning the issues of food related to poverty, which informs the public of the issues and also allows the nonprofit to apply the information to help those in need. Although there are major problems related to poverty throughout America, it is not impossible to overcome them by having funding programs and becoming more aware.  

29 April 2022
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