Homelessness is a social problem in the United States. Homelessness defined according to the National Health Care for The Homeless Council (2011), “is a person or individual that lacks housing”. Homeless do not have permeant residents. They may live on the streets, shelters, missions and under freeway overpasses. They also occupy facilities of abandoned buildings, vehicles, and campgrounds. They can be found sleeping behind buildings, sitting against a building wall or digging in a trash can for food. Homeless people are human beings without shelter. They often fall victim to infections, frozenness, diseases, and assault. Homelessness does not have prejudices; it is an equal opportunity social issue. It is seen in every major city in the United States. This paper will describe the social problem of homelessness, analyze how it affects the United States and explain one sociological theory to explain a cause of homelessness. Homelessness in the United States is a large problem. It is hard to determine how people in the US are homeless, but they have a profound economic effect on society. There are few support services available for homeless, such as shelters, soup kitchens, which come in the form of taxpayers’ dollars.
Homeless do not have cars or control over their daily lives. They depend on the daily grind of shelters, soup kitchens, and minimal jobs to meet their basic survival needs and are socially abandoned. The homeless lack medical health insurance. Hospital emergency departments are used as a community resource for the homeless, regardless of their ability to pay. So the expense falls on the taxpayer. Surprisingly, about one-third of emergency room visits are by homeless people. The needs of the homeless are vast. They typically have chronic medical conditions, multiple psychosocial risk factors, like substance use disorders and mental disease. Their social support system is nonexistent. Most, emergency departments are not set up to meet the psychosocial needs of the homeless (Additional Medical Concerns, 2015). In addition, homelessness can advance to other social concerns like the illegal sex trade and crimes. With essentially no home and no money to purchase food, homeless people resort to becoming prostitutes or engaging in criminal activities to get money for food or shelters. Some homeless become beggars. Food will commonly be the greatest importance. Individual states are affected by the amount of homeless people they have.
Some states, like New Orleans, report decreased revenue from tourists who do not want to visit. Most people consider places with high homeless dirty and unsafe. New Orleans, is one example of how homelessness gives the area a bad reputation and results in decreased revenue from tourists. Our government spends millions of dollars on the homeless. The active assistance the government provides is seen with rental assistance, food stamps, and welfare. This support although positive still affects the taxpayers. On the negative side, many homeless are picked up for loitering, sleeping in cars and begging resulting in millions of dollars spent on law enforcement like prisons and jails. There are many sociological theories that relate to homelessness. One theory is conflict theory. Since its beginning, the conflict theory has been used to define certain groups including the homeless population across the United States.
The conflict theory provides a perfect mapping as to how people have become homeless due to a single life event, causing them to adapt to the situation. People change to the homeless lifestyle instead of taking steps to return to traditional society. (Calhoun, 2002). The behaviorism of a homeless individual begins to change as they start to work to survive. Shortly after this survival mode the homeless person accepts the battle of being homeless as a societal norm and believes himself to be a regular part of that society. The conflict theorists look at the society from an impartial view. This viewpoint looks at individuals and sees them as inferior to society. The groundwork of societal structure is power or enticement and the only way to advance within the societal structure is through a power struggle. In this power struggle, there is much competition. Social class is intensely valuable in this mindset for it characterizes your place in the monument of authority.
Wealth and assets are limed significantly in society, and people are constantly in competition for these goods and prosperity. Conflict theorists approach the issue of homelessness just like an emperor approaches his subordinates. They see the homeless as people that are too fragile and unable to rise up the societal ranking. They see the homeless as individuals unable to reach the goal of greater social status. Conflict theorists identify themselves as the emperors of mankind and consider the homeless as insignificant people because they are unable to do anything.
Essentially the conflict theorists see themselves as the ones with all the skill. They are masters in political, economic and social assets. The homeless are dominated by the higher social class. (Calhoun, 2002). Homelessness in the United States continues to be a social problem. Thousands of people still meet the characterization of homeless. It is a social issue that has existed for years. It does not have prejudices; it is an equal opportunity social issue. It is seen in every major city in the United States. Homeless are the abandoned people.
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