What Are The Root Causes of Homelessness?
At least 2.5 to 3.5 million Americans are homeless as estimated by The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. Others may define homelessness as people who lack regular, and adequate nighttime shelter. But the truth is, homelessness is not only defined by lack of housing.
Homelessness is actually unique for everyone who’s experiencing it.
It’s important to know that different factors lead to homelessness.
While it’s great to help by providing support, it’s best to provide long term solutions. To achieve this, we first need to identify the root cause of the problem.
Poverty is a huge factor in becoming homeless. The lack of adequate income often affects access to housing, food, and health support. The poor face difficult choices, especially when their resources are only limited.
Discrimination is another reason why many people live on the streets. For instance, aged 50 years old and above might find it hard to find a job compared to younger ones. In some cases, race and sexuality are also at high risk of experiencing discrimination. (e.g. establishments who don’t hire homosexuals or people of color.)
Failures of the System
This occurs when systems of care and support fail. When this happens, most people often turn to homelessness services.
An example of this is a lack of support for immigrants and refugees and difficult transitions from child welfare.
Personal and Relational Problems
Personal and relational problems are also the root causes of homelessness. Personal problems often include traumatic events, personal crisis, mental illness, and addiction.
Traumatic events such as job loss, accident, or house fire have a huge impact on why a person ends up living in the streets. These unexpected crises often lead to homelessness.
Personal crises like family break-ups or abuse from a family member also drive people to leave home.
Mental illness is another significant contributor to homelessness. People with serious mental illnesses often have difficulties in carrying out daily activities.
Mental illnesses may also prevent people maintain a stable relationship. They are often irrational which results in conflicts with other people.
Addiction also made many people homeless. It can be both a cause or a consequence. Homeless addicts are at risk of using injectable drugs. This might lead to acquiring diseases and making it very difficult to get a job.
There is without a doubt, a connection between domestic violence and homelessness. Abuse and violence often force a person to leave home especially without proper support in place.
Victims of sexual and physical abuse are often left with no choice but to become homeless. This is not an unusual issue for youth and women, even those with children.
By addressing the right method and strategy on each factor causing homelessness, we can achieve and end homelessness. If we dig deeper, we can come up with a definite and long-term solution to homelessness and provide necessary supports.
How Soup Kitchens Help Address Homelessness
While the country’s homelessness problem is hard to eradicate, there are people taking little steps towards that goal. Non-profit organizations like Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen in Florida gives homeless people a chance to get back on their feet.
We all know that aside from housing, food is a major problem for homeless people. Most of them don’t get to eat three times a day. Others would even resort to scavenging food from the dumpsters which pose a huge risk to their health.
The freshly-cooked meal these soup kitchens provide not only fills up their belly but lifts up their spirits too. It gives them hope that someone still cares and that they’re not alone. It serves as a motivation to turn their life around and get out of their homeless status.
You can do your share too. Soup kitchens always need an extra pair of hands from volunteers and donations from generous people like you. You can donate cash, food items, used clothing, hygiene kits, and other necessities.