When you walk down the streets of New York, Los Angeles, London, Shibuya, Milan, Rome and many other modern day city, do you see homeless people? Do you see ragged men and women, who smell like they have not showered for days and have a look of hunger on their faces? But what did you do when you saw them? Did you turn your back or looked away, or did you help them and offer them some change?
The number of homeless people has increased over the years. In modern countries, homeless people are usually those who are unable to find suitable employment or have lost their jobs. In developing countries, children, women, elderly, disabled and even able bodied people become homeless. The loss of a decent shelter has now terribly plagued the world.
What Causes People to Become Homeless?
In the recent years, massive recession in the United States and many other developed countries like Japan, UK and European countries has caused people to lose their jobs and their homes. The cost of living in developed or rich countries has risen so greatly that decent living is no longer affordable for everyone.
1. The Economy – The economy has greatly shifted over the years. Countries have risen and fallen. Not all economic growth is good for the whole population. Some people cannot take in the amount of tax increase. They are also unable to keep up with the fast paced demands of work that is associated with economic growth. Some get left behind.
On the other hand the most common effect of the economy on people is when the economy suffers and dips. This causes people to lose their employment. Companies create budget cuts which can affect salaries or even retrenchment.
2. Lack of Job Opportunities – Sometimes people are very talented and wish to work, but they cannot find work suited for them. Other times they are said to be too old. Others are also discriminated upon because of their race. They are unable to find a job and hence they are unable to keep living in proper places.
Many people are also unable to find work because of the competitiveness in the job market. Things like physical appearance, age, school graduated from has been used to determine who gets in or who doesn’t.
3. Drug problems – Many times people fall into drugs because of someone inducing them to take drugs such as friends or partners. On the other hand, others try it to relieve stress and find an escape from their problems. They go downhill from their. They end up losing their jobs and being resented by their friends and family. Finally they become homeless.
4. Expensive Lifestyle – Many people dream of having it all. They spend money on shopping, traveling, clothes and many unnecessary things. They incur so much debt that they finally have to let go of the important things. They end up being unable to pay their mortgages. They cannot get out of debt and thus they file for bankruptcy. Some of them are too unlucky and end up on the streets.
It is said that the government spends more money to have homeless people on the streets rather than have them rehomed. If the government gives them training and an opportunity to start over, they can become contributing citizens who can help shape the country.
Many organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the United Nations have tried to resolve this issue. Other religious and philanthropic groups give a temporary shelter to homeless people for a night and provide them warm food to eat.
Still some go through great lengths such as building mini houses to help those who do not have homes. This tiny homes allow the homeless to sleep in a decent place out of the weather and the rain. But not everyone is for this. Some people are against this tiny house movement.
The best possible solution to resolve homelessness is to provide rehabilitation through the combined efforts of the government and the private sector. Donations from ordinary citizens can help change their lives. They should be given a chance to change and be treated like decent human beings.