This essay reconnoiters the features and causes of homeless families in the United States. This unparalleled information processes in detail the risk factors that are likely to impact homelessness at household, urban, and personal level. In the essay, we discover that homelessness is strongly connected to informal institutional social support. It is also associated with labor and local housing conditions. Although homelessness has often been associated with drug abuse, it has also been revealed as a predictor of HIV risk among drugs abusers. This research has discussed contributions of homelessness to sexual risk. In the study, we found out that small percentage of non-homeless sex workers are consumers of alcohol and crack compared to homeless sex workers. The homeless sex workers, when on drugs, indulge in unprotected vaginal and oral sex.
In the United States, homeless families can be found in every city, living in uninhibited buildings, cars and homeless protections among many other places. As many families tussle to avoid this type of life threatening adversity by co-joining with friends, the situation responsible for these unbalanced housing measures are often intertwined with past exposure to effects of domestic violence, history of mental illness and drug abuse. The evolution in single parenting, including decline in people espousing, are thought to have left women and children exposed to homelessness and plentiful economic destitution. In addition, family bonds breakdown have initiated a lack of communal support, and made people more susceptible during times of economic and personal crisis. In addition, rise in housing rates and decline in remuneration growth among unskilled workers, has deteriorated the problem. These factors combined have resulted in enduring homelessness in the U.S.
In addition to these environmental and individual causes of homelessness, subsisting researches differ in their focus on particular pathways that may cause homelessness and severe economic hardship among families. Analysis differs in their emphasis on lack of human capital, material resources, domestic violence, drug abuse, and mental illness. These factors have been analyzed further below:
- Lack of material resources - limited access to material resources is often connected to inadequate human capital and reduced wage levels among the unskilled workers. This condition alone does not explain why most poor families do not become homeless and in other cases, some homeless families after sometime are able to find a way out from this situation. In this case, there is an assertion that intertwining of poverty and sudden crisis may occur due to domestic violence, drug abuse or health related problems that push people to shelter in streets.
- Family structure and support - due to the current change in family structures that are now adopting single parenting and redundant in marriage rates, families are vulnerable to ever changing economic conditions which can easily lead to homelessness. This means that more families are dependent on a single income contributor, making them increasingly sensitive to severe economic hardships that result due to job loss, sudden illness, and harsh economic conditions. As families become more dependent, the purpose of informal support from family members and friends during difficult situations is minimized leading the families to become homeless.
- Local housing market conditions - the high prices in the housing sector, make houses unaffordable in many urban areas. In addition, the rising share in household income that is spent on rent or owning an apartment put the individuals’ low income at risk of becoming homeless. The harsh housing market conditions force many families to move in stable housing, while at the same time pushing others to double up with family and friends to escape the homelessness disaster. In some cities where there is availability of shelter, beds and pleasant conditions, may make it less or more unpleasant to be homeless in a particular area.
Homelessness and HIV/AIDS are elaborately related. The costs of medications and maintaining a good health care for the people living with HIV/AIDS are very high for the patients to afford them. In addition, the people who are employed are in danger of losing their jobs due to frequent absences and discrimination from the work mates. In the United States, it is estimated that 50% of people living with HIV/AIDS are at risk of becoming homeless. Furthermore, the conditions of homelessness may increase the chances of contracting HIV/AIDS. The levels of desperation that may make one have unprotected sex at any cost as long as he or she gets a shelter. A large number of homeless individuals suffer from drug abuse disorders. Sharing needles or reusing them increases the chances of contracting HIV. Severe conditions of homelessness lead individuals indulge in unethical sexual practices that increase the risk of spreading or contracting HIV. People living with HIV encounter several challenges to their health. Homeless people are six times more likely to be ill compared to the non-homeless.
In conclusion, I suggest that policy makers need to put into considerations the numerous factors that lead to homelessness, across all community and individual levels. State government should not be extremely concerned that the availability of shelter homes will raise the number of homelessness among families. In addition, they should set measures so that the local labor and housing market would not be able to exploit the low-income citizens and the unskilled individuals. Finally, they should campaign for better behaviors among the homelessness on impacts of substance and alcohol abuse, more so on better sexual activities.