Social Problems Facing the Contemporary United States

Topics: Sociology, Homelessness, Poverty Pages: 5 (999 words) Published: February 18, 2015

Homelessness a Social Problems Facing the Contemporary United States Shelley Gutierrez, RNC
Western Governors University
Student ID: 391502

Homelessness a Social Problems Facing the Contemporary United States

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...

References: Home. (2011, October 7). Retrieved February 11, 2015, from
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