Homelessness in America
Adetula explains that homelessness is a big problem in the USA. It has become so rampant that there are about seven hundred and fifty thousand people (both adults and children) who have nowhere to call home at every given home. This is according to the research done by National Alliance to end homelessness in the year 2005. Most of these people live in big abandoned houses, the woods and along streets. This at times it may affect the taxpayers indirectly the persistent problem of homelessness affect the tax payers of America costing them huge amounts of money.
The most affected individuals by the problem are those people who are physically and medically incapacitated. Also, those workers whose employees don't pay for their living expenses are sometimes rendered homeless due to the existence of highly priced houses which they can't afford. The most common group among them is the immigrants who come from other countries and find the cost of living in the United States of America too high and nonaffordable for them (154-167).
Unlike developing countries where those people who have no homes are dirty men sitting along streets with paper bags, sniffing glue and drinking cheaply found alcohol, in the USA the reality is the real opposite. Many of the homeless people have families with children making about 50% of the entire homeless population. About (25- 40%) are working and about 25% are under the age of 18 years and 30% are aged between 45 years and above with 30% of the population classified under the mentally and physically incapacitated together with those abusing drugs.
The main causes of Homelessness are the lack of cheap or easily affordable housing facilities and low salaries paid to the workers in certain cities. According to recent studies, the number of homeless individuals has increased greatly in the past 25 years due to the rapid change in the infrastructure housing, services, and income that can uplift the standards of the poor. It is important for the government to consider rebuilding this poor infrastructure to be in a position to reduce the number of homeless people. This is so because even though many people may assume that those homeless people are just lazing around and not looking for jobs the truth is that in order to get a job one needs to have either a permanent address and telephone numbers which he can be called for both a job and interview. In order to have these, you must be living in a permanent house which is very expensive for those individuals looking for jobs. (Murphy 78-94).
According to National Alliance person working at a minimum wage cannot even afford a decent housing like one bedroomed home. This is so because even a person on full-time job needs to earn at least 11 dollars per hour to be able to pay for an apartment and this is about 215% of the minimum wage according to the labor rules. This means if you are paid the minimum wage you should work for eighty six hours per week to afford a decent housing.
Michael suggests that it is a high time that the Americans stop associating financial power with working hard. The truth on the ground is that a huge number of USA citizens work hard every single day but have nothing to show for it. It is sad to note that many of them cannot afford to house despite working every single day. In fact, many of them have jobs which cannot even pay for their housing. Even though many Americans give crucial labor to their country that helps in building the country's economy they are paid very poorly making it difficult for them to feed their families. In the past years, a person who was earning a minimum wage could afford to feed his family and live a decent life which is above the poverty level.( 78-192).
According to McNamara, In order to be able to curb this problem, it is important for the labor rules to change in the sense that the workers are provided with living expenses besides their normal wages. This could make life better easier for them without having to stay in the streets but manage to pay for a mortgage or even rent a decent house. In addition, the Government and the private sector at large must involve themselves in constructing affordable houses for the minimum wage earners and even put up special houses for the chronically disabled.( Pg 165).
It is costing the tax payer huge amount of millions in dollars due to the dollars spent by both the federal and local state in managing those people living on the streets. The expenses incurred include those costs for managing prisons when they are arrested, medical costs incurred to treat them and money spent by the agencies that provide social services. The USA mainly uses shelters to deal with an emergency in areas where people have been left homeless. But it is important to note that this later become permanent homes for many people have nowhere else to go. This has cost the taxpayer a big deal. Jennings, J (1992) pgs 111-121.
Even though most policy makers believe that housing the homelessness in shelters is cheap the reverse is the truth. This means that the homeless will mostly be using the public services funded by the taxpayers. Their hospital bills will be high due to the poor living conditions causing them sicknesses and these bills will be paid by the government whose income b backbone is the taxpayer. For they are most of the idle and loiter the streets it means that they will be definitely arrested and jailed causing congestions in prisons straining the prisons budget. If these individual are housed all these costs will be dealt away with.
Adetula explains further that, Policy makers and even individuals should come up with programs like the one invented by Sam Tsembelis in 1992 which helped settle up to 500 homeless persons by 2005 which reduced the tax payers cost by a very incredible amount. The program was called Pathway to the housing with its main objective being to heal the disease of housing first before even identifying the causes of homelessness. The main focuses of the program were to initially resettle homeless families then, later on, try to link them with the necessary services they require.(Pgs 126-132)
More state laws should be enacted to be able to find a permanent solution to this housing problem. This is because based on the above discussion it is more than clear that this problem has far-reaching negative effects to the entire country than just the homeless people. As much as it may be difficult to find a permanent solution every little effort by all the stakeholders involved would help reduce the numbers to a more sizable one. People have to change the negative attitude and perception they have of the homeless and focus on helping them out for no matter what they say or feel this is a collective responsibility.