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America is Not Doing Enough to Rid Their Community of Homelessness

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    Abstract

    In this research project, I engage myself with the complications that arise within our community and how our society is affected. By researching about homelessness throughout the state and nation, I gained a better understanding of the causes and effects that homelessness inflicts on its community. Areas like Phoenix do not provide affordable housing therefore, living in a highly populated area is not logically for most households and is near impossible for vagrants to shift into appropriate housing without a transition home. Not only do difficulties arise when attempting to afford a house within the area but, surviving in the summer with temperatures over one hundred ten degree fahrenheit is impossible without water. The Arizona Supreme Court does not participate in assisting homelessness and they leave private organizations to feed, water, and house struggling individuals. Throughout this paper, I gained a new appreciation for private organizations and I understand why homelessness is such a major issue. I found that Finland put funds towards housing and provide basic necessities to personages however, the United States does not assist homeless individuals unless they have contacted services for mental or physical illnesses. Due to the lack of transitional homes, vagrants have no opportunity to be supported on their journey to better living and some can not get jobs because they do not have a defined residence. Throughout this paper, I discuss my concerns about how authorities approach the topic of homelessness and the effort that is necessary to inflict a health change on communities. I utilize how other european countries deal with homelessness to compare established systems that have benefited contemporary society rather than cause more disease and hardship.

    Homelessness Needs to be taken Care of

    Homelessness arose as a national issue in the United States as early as eighteen seventy due to the lack of support from the government after the civil war. With no place to call home, many vagrants would ride trains to search for jobs in neighboring cities. The construction of railroads pushed for urbanization and industrialization opening more opportunities for occupations. Over time homelessness increased significantly across the United States and diseases began to rise because vagrants were deficient in necessities to stay healthy. Countries, such as Finland, have found solutions to reduce homelessness and find appropriate housing for struggling individuals. Although America has put effort in to eliminate homelessness, the urgency needs to improve in order to protect the mental and physical health of communities, solve social difficulties, and unify society.

    Mattie, a sixty-two year old woman, had recently passed away last summer due to the excessive heat in Phoenix, Arizona. The excessive heat causes many persons to experience dehydration however, if left untreated severe dehydration can lead to a heat stroke and inevitably death. Mattie experienced serious dehydration but ignored her signs of struggle to prevent expensive medical bills and help from others. In a case study done on homelessness with in phoenix, it was determine that, “People who experience homelessness are disproportionately at risk of dehydration and heat-related illness as they spend significantly more time outdoors, and many have limited access to an adequate quantity of acceptable [drinking] water”(DeMyers, Warpiniski and Wutich, 2017, p. 72 ). Vagrants lack sufficient resources to survive in an environment with oppressive temperatures and have little to no assistance from the Arizona supreme court nor government. Not only has poor physical health resulted in the death of vagrants, mental illnesses have put many individuals in danger. In Tucson, Arizona a man by the name of Curtis Bagley was released from prison, traveled to Phoenix and killed a man within twenty four hours of his release. Bagley had entered the home of thirty six year old, Joshua Fitzpatrick, and stabbed him to death in his own bedroom. As Fitzpatrick struggled for his life, a woman was under the bed calling nine one one. Bagley remained on the Premises and the police took him into custody only to figure out about several mental illnesses he was suffering from (Coppola, 2019). The behavioral health system failed to properly care for Curtis Bagley when he posed a threat to other persons and should be held partially responsible for the trauma Bagley imposed on the Fitzpatrick’s family. Authorities must improve their system of handling physical and mental health for those who live on the streets in order to ensure the safety of people within their communities.

    Towards the end of the twentieth century, the government’s priorities shifted and making affordable housing was not one of their priorities. Due to the lack of investment in affordable housing, social problems arose contributing to contemporary homelessness. As America still struggles to decrease the amount of vagrants, Finland has put their best foot forward by appropriately housing homeless individuals. Over the past thirty years Finland has lowered the quantity of homelessness within their country by over fifty percent (Harris, 2019). The United States prioritizes other issues since they hold more significance however, homelessness is constantly increasing and America is not putting effort to reduce the amount of persons on the street. Countries like Finland have supported homelessness by establishing shelters that are more affordable because they believe housing is a right. Individuals housed in shelters, “[experience] little or no problems acquiring water” (DeMyers, Warpinski and Wutich, 2017, p. 75). Rarely a child is born on the streets, so technically speaking, many people inflict homelessness onto themselves possibly because of substance abuse or other causes preventing a full education. In the social aspect of things, social factors play a heavy role in causes of homelessness. Mental illness, job loss, domestic violence, and family tragedy are among the complex social issues that root into homelessness. America can not fix all social issues at once due to the complexity therefore, authorities must establish better systems to help the mentally ill, produce job opportunities, create easier ways to get aid, etc.

    Society is deprived of unification throughout their different social classes because of class consciousness. Many individuals identify wealth as a symbol for social stratification because uneven distribution of money defines the ranking of personages in contemporary society. The wealthy are provided with more opportunities and privileges that allow them to earn money to leverage debts to increase the worth of assets. “The culmination of a long process of economic hardship, isolation, and social dislocation” is the slow, dreadful process for many (Admin, 2012). Communities do not come together very often, forcing issues to be passed off for authorities to handle. Homelessness is a more prominent concern due to the lack of amalgamation throughout our modern day society and social classes are extremely perceptible because the wealthy verie far from vicinities experiencing strong amounts of vagrants. Authorities do not have much implication on the interactions between the wealthy and poor, therefore communities must take responsibility and put efforts into restoring a unified section.

    Many homeless individuals finding live on the streets better than shelters due to the massive amount of people as well as the many diseases and bugs found in the small vicinities. After an interview done by Ari Shapiro with David Pirtle, Shapiro found out about all the dangerous activities that occur in shelters. Throughout Pirtle’s little time spent in a shelter he determined, “that they’re full of drugs and drug dealers [and] people [would] steal your shoes, and there’s bedbugs and body lice”(Shapiro). Authorities do not maintain shelter’s therefore, safety precautions and cleanliness are lacking pushing more individuals to choose living on the street over living in a poor environment. With efforts to rid communities of homelessness, many vagrants have chosen their current lifestyle rather than utilizing free shelters. Chris Harris observed and researched how shelter in Finland functioned and identified individuals housed in, ”shelters…accumulate health problems and then wait until [their issue is] unbearable”(Harris). In Phoenix, Arizona several overpopulated shelters have been shut down due to the excessive amount of filth or people. Authorities must utilize open lots to create more transitional homes in order to help maintain safety and cleanliness among individuals. Not all vagrants want to throw their life away with the use of drugs therefore, rules are placed to preserve order. Homelessness will not be a preference if actual opportunities are available to those in need.

    Homelessness can be minimized and ultimately eliminated if authorities preserved the mental and physical health of those living in their communities, eliminated social issues and unify our society. The national issue has raised concerns since the end of the civil war and has constantly increased for years. Authorities have the most power to affect how homelessness is dealt with, but other issues had forced the concerned to lack attention. Private organizations have been responsible for aiding those experiencing life on the streets. However, authorities must provide sufficient resources to benefit the wellbeing of their community and country.

    References

    1. A. (2012). Exploring homelessness: Causation and measures of eradication. Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://www.sociologylens.net/topics/political-economic-sociology/exploring-homelessness-causation-and-measures-of-eradication-2/9460
    2. Coppola, C. (2019). Phoenix approves $2 million settlement for family of man killed by intruder in his home. Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2019/11/21/phoenix-approves-settlement-joshua-fitzpatrick-killed-by-curtis-bagley/4265953002/
    3. DeMyers, C., & Warpinski, C. (2017). Urban water INSECURITY: A case study of homelessness in Phoenix, Arizona. Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/env.2016.0043
    4. Harris. (2019). Q: How do you solve a problem like homelessness? A: Speak to Finland. Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://www.euronews.com/2019/12/21/q-how-do-you-solve-a-problem-like-homelessness-a-speak-to-finland
    5. Larimer, M. E. (2009). Health Care and Public Service Use an Costs Before and After Provision of Housing for Chronically Homeless Persons With Severe Alcohol Problems. Retrieved February 12, 2020, from https://depts.washington.edu/medhmc/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/JAMA-article1.pdf
    6. Pirtle, D., & Greene, J., & Sibert, K. (2012) Why Some Homeless Choose The Streets Over Shelters. Retrieved February 13, 2019, from https://www.npr.org/2012/12/06/166666265/why-some-homeless-choose-the-streets-over-shelters

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    America is Not Doing Enough to Rid Their Community of Homelessness. (2022, Jan 05). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/america-is-not-doing-enough-to-rid-their-community-of-homelessness/

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