Homelessness Problem

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In recent decades, the number of individuals involved in illegal acts has increased. A person's unsocial behavior may be triggered by a variety of factors in their life. They consist of neurological conditions, biochemical causes, and social characteristics. These factors differ depending on the user and the context. Homelessness is one of the factors specifically contributing to the increase in crime rates. The number of people without enough shelter is increasing all over the world. Homelessness has the potential to develop extreme characteristics in its victims. It can, for example, lead to reckless actions such as drug use, abuse, or robbery. It also lowers the dignity of a person. Nevertheless, the negative effects of homelessness are not limited to victims or their family members. High rates of homelessness may be indications of deteriorations in the well-being of a society. Diamond identifies five dynamics that usually make societies to collapse. The fifth variable in his list comprises political, social, and economic elements of a community. These issues can make it either difficult or easy for members of a particular society to solve their problems (Diamond). Demonstrating the relationship between political, economic, and social factors and homelessness is the intention of this paper. Such an approach would be valuable in implementing lasting solutions to the problem. In particular, political and socio-economic disturbances have inflicted many people with physical and emotional pains. They have contributed significantly to the rising rates of homelessness.

Study Background and Review of Existing Literature

Homelessness is a common phenomenon in almost every country of the world. For instance, as at 2013, over 610, 000 were victims in the United States. Of this population, those who were at high risks of lacking shelter were the unemployed and those who had just finished their prison sentences (Meier). Evidence points to the fact that the number of homeless victims in the country is on an increasing trend. The situation is not limited to the United States. Around the globe, the number is increasing. This trend has horrible consequences on the living standards of the victims and the entire society of humankind. Apart from physical health concerns and deprived standards of living, homelessness produces severe psychosomatic effects including trauma (Goodman et al. 1219). In many cases, victims of have little or no control over their fate. Such conditions usually result into to poor education standards, increases in health complications, and poor performance of businesses. Additionally, these circumstances provide appropriate breeding grounds for criminal behavior.

Several factors are responsible for the direct associations existing between crime rates and homelessness. For instance, homeless victims usually engage in unethical conducts to avoid or escape the severe conditions that come with living without homes. Another factor that may lead to the positive correlations between homelessness and crime is the use of hard substances. Drugs and hard substances are common among the homeless victims, both young and old. Drug addicts usually view them as means of alleviating the undesirable effects of their fate. Specifically, homeless persons usually find themselves in desperate circumstances. They often resort to drugs to make them forget about their situations. The use of hard substances may prompt individuals to engage in criminal activities in at least two ways. First, drug addicts usually suffer emotional consequences that may produce in them the urge to engage in crime. Second, victims may resort to unsocial conducts such as stealing to fund their expensive lifestyle.

Homelessness has attracted the attention of political leaders, government and international organization, human activist, and scholars. Most of the existing studies regarding the issue have emphasized on the factors that contribute to this state. According to many scholars, homelessness is the result of a combination of factors. For example, childhood problems are among contributing factors to high instances of homelessness. According to a 2010 survey, victims of child abuse are more likely to find themselves in streets or care centers than do those who have never gone through such experiences (Hemphill, and Heerde 265-277).

Researchers have also investigated the effects of homelessness on its victims. Prolonged exposure to this state is likely to prompt an individual to engage in destructive behavior. Such trends are universal and are not limited to a specific geographical location. A 2010 survey among British victims of homeliness reveals that over 20% of this population have participated in some form of unsocial behavior. The respondents cited irresponsible sexual conduct, misuse of hard drugs, shoplifting, and uncontrolled anger as some of the undesirable traits that homelessness produces in its victims (Ramesh, 2010). Economically, many governments usually allocate funds for assisting those who do not have homes. It is usually expensive to maintain people who are at care centers than it would be if they were at their residents.

Natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes are leading forces behind homelessness. In addition to natural calamities, human factors have contributed to the situation significantly. According to Diamond, political, economic, and social upheavals may contribute to sad conditions in the society such as homelessness. Specifically, several political forces provide impetus to the growing number of homeless individuals. For instance, international and civil wars have resulted in mass displacement of many populations who end up in refugee or internally displaced (IDP) camps. Some people end up homeless because of inter-clan conflicts. A part from political factors, socio-economic conditions have prompted many individuals to live without homes. For instance, unemployment and unstable families play huge roles in the rising trends. From the above background information and literature review, it is appropriate that the society takes urgent action to remedy the situation.

Tackling the Problem

Around the globe there exist increasing efforts from governments, rights activists, and non-governmental organization to take people off the streets. Accordingly, many organizations have created centers that house these individuals. However good these efforts are, they may not offer permanent solutions. With increasing trends in global populations, rising unemployment rates, and natural factors such as death, there will be always homeless individuals. According to Shy, homelessness result from an amalgamation of factors. Therefore, the society needs a combination of solutions. The solution lies in addressing the root causes of the problem. It is appropriate that the players understand these causes and how they contribute to the situation. An effective mechanism would be that that empowers the victims to provide homes for themselves. For instance, governments can engage in efforts to provide employment or increase the minimum wages for workers.

Political instabilities are primary causes of homelessness. Politicians and government administrators should engage in activities that will ensure minimum political disturbances. However, despite efforts by governments and international organizations to promote peace, evidence suggest that the world will continue experiencing several instances of civil and international conflicts. Therefore, no current effort can eliminate the situation completely. The proposed remedies can only reduce the frequencies of occurrences. Of all the age brackets, youths are homeless are at higher risks to the negative effects of homelessness. A set of factors may be responsible for this trend. First, teenagers are biologically active and are at their most sensitive stage of development. It is important that mitigation measures take into account such demographic factors. In addition to economic and social effects, homelessness may have legal implications. In many cases, the public usually express discomfort or apathy toward street children or homeless individuals. It is imperative that governments implement laws that would protect the dignity of these individuals. In the absence of such legislations, homeless victims suffer many instances of public indifference.


Political, economic, and social factors are among the dynamics that Diamond identifies as having direct bearing on the productiveness of the human society. Any imbalance in these factors may produce sad consequences. For instance, political and socio-economic disturbances have contributed to increasing trends of homelessness. Homelessness is responsible for many undesirable traits of its victims. Many factors may are responsible for the existing associations between destructive behaviors and homelessness. The extent at which homelessness produces undesirable effects on an individual varies with demographic factors and duration of exposure. Governments and other organizations are currently putting some effort to provide suitable homes for the victims. Effective solutions are those that aim at addressing the root causes such as unemployment. Nevertheless, homeless will always inflict the human society irrespective of the efforts.

Works Cited

Diamond, Jared. Why do Societies Collapse? TED Talks. TED, Oct 2008. Web. May 7, 2017.

Goodman, Lisa A., Leonard Saxe, and Mary Harvey. "Homelessness as psychological trauma: Broadening perspectives." American psychologist 46.11 (1991): 1219.

Hemphill, Sheryl A., and Heerde Jessica A. "Associations between Perpetration of Physically Violent Behaviors." Children and youth services review 44 (2014): 265-277.

Meier, Kelly. “Political Effects of Homelessness in the USA.” Classroom. Leaf Group Ltd, 2017. Web. May 7, 2017.

Ramesh, Randeep. A Fifth Of All Homeless People Have Committed A Crime To Get Off The Streets. The Guardian. The Guardian News, December, 23 2010. Web. May 7, 2017

August 18, 2021


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