Social Policy class assignment: Write an Opinion Paper on the documentary SHELTER (about homelessness in the US)

Essay by redlilyUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, April 2005

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The film Shelter included a variety of interviews with homeless individuals. There was, for example, Eddie, a schizophrenic who watched his mother being killed. He is unable to manage life. Eddie is one of many mentally ill homeless on the nations streets.

Homelessness is a national social problem that is especially visible in larger cities, such as New York or Washington, DC. The problem of homelessness should be adequately acknowledged and treated. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the number of homeless people and often are ignorant or misinformed about the problem. Society generally believes that homeless people are either mentally ill or lazy. However, there are many reasons why a homeless person has no place to live. The homeless population is, among others, made up of veterans, mentally ill, single parents, physically disabled, runaway children, drug addicts, alcoholics, entire families, unemployed individuals. Many of the homeless once lived normal lives, like all of us; a large number had jobs and homes.

They were merely members of society who ran into problems and were unable to keep thee lives they lived, thus they ended up living on the streets because they had no were else to turn. According to the movie, 40% of those in need receive no help at all. It was also stated that congress is ducking responsibility. The lack of housing is not seen as a problem, instead congress believes that there is enough housing affordable and that voucher programs will make it affordable. To me this is a very naïve way of thinking, as many owners of apartment buildings are likely to not accept these vouchers for payment.

Some homeless individuals have chosen to "drop out" of normal society because they do not agree with the American way of life and want to exclude themselves from...