Homelessness in the United States: Causes, Myths, and Help

Essay by LittleSaraUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, July 2008

download word file, 7 pages 3.5

Homelessness in the United States:

Causes, Myths, and Help

Sara Harper

Sociology 153L.

Professor Dressler

March 10, 2008

The United States of America is considered to be the land of milk and honey. Here is supposed to be a land where each person has the opportunity to live the American dream. That is to have a great job making good money, own a car and nice home for your family. However, many Americans do not have jobs that pay more than minimum wage, some do not own cars, and thousands have no home to call their own.

Imagine if you will that you have no place to take a bath, store your belongings, a clean bed to sleep in at night, or a place to prepare and eat food. For most of us in America imagining is all that can be done, but for the estimated 2.3 to 3.5 million people in the year 1996 this was a reality (Popple &Leighniger, 2005, p.549).

Men, women, and children made up these millions of people who experienced homelessness at some point in that year. The causes for a person to experience homelessness are varied and many, as are the misconceptions that are associated with the homeless, and while hope is often not seen for this social group there are in fact programs that are available to help.

Homelessness is defined by the United States Department of Urban Housing and Development as:

(1)an individual who lives in a box (an adequate nighttime residence); and

(2) an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is:

A) supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill);

B) an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be...