Homelessness in the United States

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Impacted by Discriminatory Economics to Racial Disparities & Healthcare Disparities

The United States has one of the world’s highest per capita in homelessness.
Homelessness has increased in the United States over the past few decades. The increase in
homelessness is contrasted by the improving living standards and average per capita in the nation
Average income levels have increased over the last decade. Homelessness may not necessarily
mean that one does not have a home but poor-quality houses such as tents show homelessness
(O’Flatherty, 2019). Particular aspects that contribute to the increase in the homelessness,

therefore, includes access to finance and rising cost of housing. Such an increase is in line with
the global trends of inflation. There is potentially poor planning in the implementation of the
building of houses. Most of the homeless persons live in the urban areas. A significant but
minority section lives in the rural areas. The need to balance between the interest of each of the
two communities is critical in understanding homelessness.  The core aspect of
homeless reflects poverty. It shows that one is unable to build a house for himself or his family
(Solmonsen, 2017). Contextually, the discourse above shows that there is an increase in the gap
between the poor and the rich in the United States. An increase in the number of homelessness
also shows that income levels among the poorest are not rising as fast as the cost of housing in
the country (Braiterman., et all, 2017). Other factors such as drug abuse have appeared as the
cause of an increase in homelessness. Thesis Answer: Factors that have increased homelessness
in the united states over the past twenty years include, (1) eroding work opportunities, (2) lack of
competitive living wages, the (3) disparity between housing cost, minimum wage or earned
benefits, as well as (4) the inadequate support for mental health and substance use challenges, (5)
racial inequality, (6) domestic violence, and (7) lack of affordable health care.
Falling or stagnant incomes and less secure employment opportunities with fewer
benefits have increased. The rate of homelessness in the United States has increased in the last
few decades. Most cases of homelessness have been seen in urban areas. Most of the urban areas
in the eastern, southern, and western parts of the country are notorious for increasing rates of
homelessness. Though there has been a major economic growth over the last decade, for
instance, the cost of housing has increased at a far greater rate than the average increase in
income levels. To put such into context, cities such as New York, Seattle, and Los Angeles have
realized an increase in rent rates (Valle, 2018). Such increases have caused a massive increase in

homeless persons. Average renters in New York, for instance, spend more than 10% of their
income on rent. The figure is rising, which causes most people to fight for a few affordable
housings available (Webster, 2020). Such an aspect further accelerates the cost of housing.
However, there is a critical observation that there are fewer working opportunities in the United
States. Globalization has shifted most of the manual jobs to other parts of the world. Most of the
work opportunities in the manufacturing industry are technical, and globalization has played a
critical part in taking away American jobs (Munthe‐Kaas Berg & Blaasvær, 2018). Though
America benefits from the low cost of goods, most of the tedious jobs were transferred to China
or Korea. Digitization also took up some of the jobs of the American people. Equally, inflation
meant that some of the available tasks are not productive enough to sustain the workers. On
average, low-income Americans must alter between several jobs to pay their budgets. Inflation in
the country over the last decade from 2010 has been 20% (Webster, 2020). The average increase
in wages has been 10% in the same period. However, the average charges for rent in the same
period has increased at a higher rate than the average inflation rate. Such aspects directly
contribute to an increase in the rate of homelessness.

A decline in manufacturing jobs, globalization, and increased unusual work, including
part-time and temporary employment, has reduced employment opportunities.
The impact of globalization has been the decline in the cost of goods in the United States.
However, most of the manufacturing jobs are now in China and Southeast Asian countries. The
focus of firms has been low production costs through lower wages paid to employees. Trade
agreements such as NAFTA have further worsened the joblessness in the United States. There

are international trade agreements which bind the United States to accept goods or produce into
the country from various countries of origin (Bhowmik, 2020). The discussion of economic
interdependence is often applied to justify the move. Local firms prefer not to offer jobs to
Americans but to resale such products to the American people after they have been manufactured
outside the world. Equally, the real value of the dollar has decreased over the last decade. Thus,
the people who earned the same money as they did a decade ago are at a more disadvantaged
position than their peers ten years ago (Bhowmik, 2020). The context is that the need for
multiple jobs becomes a necessity which creates disguised unemployment. Equally, most of the
jobs are shifted to countries with lower wage requirements and low cost of production. Contexts
of unusual work such as part-time engagements mean that Americans can still live, and disguise
as employed despite performing different tasks (Bhowmik, 2020). The government interprets
such instances as full employment, which worsens the shortfalls in employment levels. Such
elements mean that there are far lesser jobs to the American people than at any other time in the
recent history of the United States.

Over the past few decades, the number of individuals with mental health issues and
abuse drugs has rapidly increased, making it harder to get the help they need.
The increase has caused an overwhelming burden on healthcare provision for the different
portions of the population. Contextually, drug abuse, and mental health issues are interconnected.
Most researchers address the issue of drug abuse and mental health issues as “double diagnosis.”
Further research reflects that “Roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders
are affected by substance abuse” (Robinson et al., 2020). Thus, the challenge of drug abuse and
mental health issues are joined.

The discourse above reflects the problem of alcohol abuse and the related health
challenges that it may cause. Contextually, alcohol abuse can accelerate the underlying mental
health disorders (Robinson et al., 2020). The common trends show that drug abuse has a high
onset rate in teenagers when people transition to adult life (“National Institute on Drug Abuse,”
2020). Such challenges experienced during the transition affect the mental health of the
individuals later in life.
Equally, research has identified that alcohol abuse is the most prevalent drug abuse
challenge that faces the American young population (Robinson et al., 2020). Such a challenge is
responsible for triggering mental health problems or worsening the already existent ones in an
individual. Such context further enlightens on the connection between drug abuse and alcohol
abuse trends among the youths. There are other cases when youths are already aware of their
mental health problems. However, research has identified that alcohol and drugs are used as a
means of “self-medication” to alleviate mental health challenges (“National Institute on Drug
Abuse,” 2020). Such a reflection creates a duality context of the mental health and drug abuse
issue in society.
Homelessness is a core aspect that is associated with a decline in mental health.
Financial challenges are a common threat to persons with mental health issues.
The prevalent poverty rates for persons with mental health challenges are associated with
“disaffiliation, poverty, and personal vulnerability” (Patten, 2017). Persons with mental health
challenges have low capacities to sustain employment. Thus, they are more likely to lose jobs
and end up homeless. They have a low probability of getting hired too.
Such factors exacerbate the economic welfare of persons with mental health issues.

Equally, the challenge of homelessness directly impacts the mental health of an individual.
Research indicates that “homelessness amplifies mental health issues” (Patten, 2017). These
factors mean that being homeless will worsen the mental health condition. Aspects such as stress
and anxiety will add weight to the already existent mental health challenges. Contextually, the
deteriorating mental health welfare will worsen the probability of a person with mental health
from getting a home.
Additionally, there is a decline in contact with families for persons with mental health
challenges. A decline in contact with families is a common trend for persons with mental health
challenges. Such a trend means that there is little likelihood of assistance or support. Such
conditions mean a consistent decline in affiliation, which lowers chances of employment,
support, or advice (Patten, 2018). Contextually, persons with mental health challenges separate
themselves from friends and families, which increases anxiety or stress. Such factors further
decline the potency of recovery and end the challenge of homelessness.
Those with disabilities, such as addiction and mental illness, are more likely to lose out
and find themselves on the streets. Such disabilities mean that the individuals in question are
likely to suffer from disaffiliation than any other section of society. Addiction may mean that the
individual uses the drug consistently and uncontrollably to the extent of ignoring the family or
social time (Habánik, 2018). Such factors lower the overall ability to get employment or to
sustain themselves in employed positions. Thus, persons with addiction and those with mental
health challenges are more likely to be on the streets than any other population section.
Some of the core elements of mental health challenges are core factors that contribute to being
out on the streets. Sleeplessness and substance abuse are intertwined. Most of the people who
experience the challenge of sleeplessness are also engaged in drug abuse (Habánik, 2018). In

most instances, drug abuse is the main cause of anxiety and sleeplessness in the population. Such
factors push one out to the streets since one cannot sustain a job or maintain the relevant social
connections necessary to engage in self-employment.
Contextually, low income or no income levels push the addicts to lower credit ratings
than an average individual in a society. Such factors mean that the addicts are less likely to have
a loan approved or qualify for a loan. Thus, the group has diminished chances of opening
businesses or earning livelihoods. Combining the factors above also means that the group has
low chances of being married (Habánik, 2018). Being out on the streets and suffering from
addiction makes it increasingly hard to maintain a relationship or find a spouse. The collective
impact of the factors exacerbates the emotional and social welfare of the persons who engage in
drug abuse.
Most victims lack economic resources to secure or maintain housing after leaving an
abusive home
Domestic violence is a core factor that contributes to homelessness in the United States.
For women, being the victim of DV is a leading cause of homelessness. Housing instability is
four times more likely for women who have experienced DV than other women, and
approximately 25% of homeless women have noted DV as a major contributor to their
homelessness. DV victimization has both direct and indirect pathways to homelessness. Many
abusers intentionally destroy their victims’ economic and housing stability by ruining their credit,
stealing their money, destroying their property, or preventing them from working, as a means of
trapping them in the relationship (Sullivan & Olsen, 2016, 183).
Most women who are victims of domestic violence end up homeless, as reflected above. Some
cases also reflect men as domestic violence victims, and such persons may end up homeless.

Lack of economic resources is contributed by factors such as destroyed property and prevention
from working. Such factors deny the female domestic violence victims opportunity to start up
new lives after the breakdown of their relationships.
Ending a relationship also means disconnection from social engagements around one’s former
spouse. Domestic violence breaks the social bonds necessary for women’s economic upkeep
(Sullivan and Olsen, 2016). Such cases mean that there is a progressive decline in the available
work-ing or business opportunities for women. Traditionally, men serve as providers for their
families, which means that they are more likely to be employed than women. Thus, if there is a
breakdown of a relationship due to domestic violence, it is highly likely that women will not
have employment.
The nexus between homelessness and low incomes is established.
“Counts of people experiencing homelessness in cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles, and
New York reveal alarming year-over-year increases in the raw numbers of enumerated
individuals. In addition to rising counts of homeless, rental costs in these cities are
significantly increasing as well. The relationship between housing costs and
homelessness is a topic of great public importance and has received considerable
attention” (Glynn and Fox, 2019, p 573).
The discourse above highlights that the average cost of rent is increasing. Domestic violence is a
factor that causes direct deprivation of the economic resources to women and men in some cases.
Progressively, a decline in the income rates is a direct threat to affording a house, which plunges
many domestic violence victims to homelessness. Relationships provide a platform where
couples can share the cost of housing and the cost of living. Thus, breaking down in a

relationship provides the context of the doubled cost of living, which may push many people to

Battered women who live in poverty are often forced to choose between abusive
relationships and homelessness.
Battered women living in poverty are often consigned to a choice between abusive relationships
and homelessness. The forced choice between the two elements above is a direct result of the
lack of sufficient means of income. “Research has found that when women decide to leave an
abusive partner, their available resources limit their options of where to stay. Several of the
mothers had previously experienced violence as children” (Milaney et al., 2019). The context is
that the choice between living with an abusive spouse and moving out to uncertainty on where to
stay represents a common choice among many battered women. Progressively, more women
choose to stay with their abusive spouses though some choose to move out to uncertainty. The
latter case is exposed to the dangers of homelessness.
Equally, the battered women who choose to leave their spouses face economic challenges
prevalent in the modern American context. “Inflation in the country over the last decade from
2010 has been 20%” (Webster, 2020). The increase in inflation means that battered women have

to cope with the challenge of finding a job and catering to the hiking cost of living. The balance
between the two pushes many battered women on the brink of homelessness. The cost of living
is not a burden that only affects women at the exclusion of men. However, the shock of leaving a
relationship means that most women are economically unprepared to move out of their homes,
even with abusive partners.
Additionally, there are employment opportunities in the current economy, which provide
a means of income. The income levels have risen by around 10% over the last decade (Statistics
and Index, 2020). Such a challenge means that securing a job does not guarantee that one will be
able to afford a house. Thus, most battered women choose to remain with their spouses rather
than fall into the current economic crisis, where they have to strive in poverty and face the
challenge of homelessness. Considerations such as the welfare of the children add another
dimension that many battered women interrogate prior to assessing to leave their abusive
spouses. The higher the number of young children that the couple has increasingly means that the
battered women may choose to live with their abusive spouses.
The double tragedy that awaits the battered women is a tough choice between living homeless or
living with their abusive spouses. In most cases, the challenge of homelessness is indirect but
imposed by the socioeconomic elements. Challenges in securing employment and an increase in
the cost of living are antecedents to homelessness. Most battered women choose to live with their
spouses rather than facing the world with poverty and potential homelessness.

Many individuals do not get proper care due to the lack of affordable health care, which
affects their work and community functionality.

Lack of affordable care is one of the factors that has increased homelessness in the United States.
There are many private health insurance firms in the United States. Other insurance options are
available through Medicare and Medicaid, as discussed in the contexts below. However,
affordability of healthcare is a common element contributing to homelessness, functionality at
work, and community among many individuals, as reflected in the contexts below. Homeless
persons are exposed to the challenge of poor healthcare. Research highlights that homeless
individuals are four times less likely to afford healthcare in comparison to the general population
(Fryling, Mazanec, and Rodriguez, 2015).
Homeless persons report 1) having less knowledge of the ACA than their housed
counterparts, 2) poor understanding of (Affordable Care Act) ACA qualification criteria,
and 3) limited access to phone and internet. Emergency Department (ED) based outreach
and education regarding ACA eligibility may increase their enrollment (Fryling,
Mazanec, and Rodriguez, 2015).
Functionality at work and in the community is based on the health status of an individual.
Further research cites that health costs are the leading causes of bankruptcies in the United States
(Dobkin et al., 2018). Functionality at work and in society is largely influenced by the
environment. The worst context of impaired functionality is seen in the case of homelessness.
The following discussion highlights the impact of affordability of healthcare and homelessness.
The context of homelessness as detailed above reflects on the reversed role of homelessness.
Thus, homeless individuals are less likely to afford healthcare. Equally, the lack of affordable
healthcare can equally lead to homelessness. Contextually, mental health care is a critical
element to improving overall healthcare. Persons who cannot afford healthcare, such as drug
addicts and patients of trauma, do not access affordable healthcare. Some of the people in the

society do not understand that they need to register for ACA to reap the benefits therein. In such
contexts, such individuals are exposed to the challenges of accessing healthcare through their
personal payments. Inappropriate or inadequate healthcare exposes many individuals to the risk
of chronic mental illnesses. Such factors critically raise the potency of homelessness.
Contextually, the application of the ACA and Medicaid alongside Medicare has not led to
holistic and affordable healthcare for all.
Policymakers’ beliefs about the frequency of medical bankruptcies are based primarily on
two high-profile articles that claim that medical events cause approximately 60% of all
bankruptcies in the United States. In these studies, people who had gone bankrupt were
asked whether they’d experienced health-related financial stress such as substantial
medical bills or income loss due to illness. People were also asked whether they went
bankrupt due to medical bills. People who reported any of these events were described as
having experienced a medical bankruptcy (Dobkin et al., 2018).
Lack of adequate healthcare is a common challenge among many Americans. Such a challenge
renders many people unable to access further healthcare in cases of need. Progressively, the
decline in health due to unaffordability renders many individuals homeless. Excessive medical
bills cause common cases of bankruptcy, which furthers the challenges of homelessness.
The inability to work efficiently leads to job loss and health complications, keeping

people from being able to afford proper housing.
Equally, the inability to work efficiently is another cause of job loss and health complications in
the United States. The cycle of inability to work efficiently is tied to the context of drug abuse.
Inability to work inefficiently leads to a decrease in income levels and employability. Persons

who live in low-income neighborhoods are increasingly exposed to the challenge of drug abuse
than their counterparts in high-income neighborhoods (Tompsett, Domoff, and Toro, 2015). The
following excerpt details the context of drug abuse and homelessness.
Substantial evidence suggests that homeless youth are at a higher risk for engaging in a
number of risky behaviors, including substance abuse, likely as a result of some of the
stressors they encounter before and during episodes of homelessness. Many homeless
youths will experience recurrent episodes of homelessness, repeatedly exposing them to
the stressors associated with being homeless, which may impact their involvement in
substance abuse over time. As substance abuse is itself a risk factor for a variety of other
problems in the transition to adulthood, it is important to try to understand the ways in
which experiences of homelessness can interact with more common risks for substance
abuse (Tompsett, Domoff, and Toro, 2015).
The excerpt above cites that inefficiency in the workplace leads to loss of productivity. In a
globally competitive world, the decline in productivity levels leads to a decline in the overall
income levels. Progressively, the inability to work efficiently leads to massive losses of jobs or
working at lower pay than average. Contextually, reduced earnings mean that there is a further
reduction in the affordability of healthcare. There is less disposable income, which means that
there is less available finance for other expenses.
There is another element of drug abuse that is closely linked to the context of the inability to
work efficiently. Reduced income levels mean that one has to live in low-income neighborhoods.
Such factors increase the potency of drug abuse. Consequently, there is the challenge of adverse
health outcomes associated with the practice of drug abuse. All these factors predispose one to
the challenge of homelessness. The rise in the potency of homelessness is the apex of the cycle

of poverty where the individuals who have lower income levels suffer from declining health
status due to the unaffordability of quality healthcare. Progressively, there is a decline in mental
health status. The declining mental health status can be caused by elements such as stress and
related adverse health outcomes such as anxiety. In the long-run, the potency of homelessness is
higher among the persons who work inefficiently than any other section of the population.


The United States of America has the highest per capita in homelessness globally.
However, the nation also reported improved living standards and increased per capita income.
This contrast occurs due to various factors such as eroding work opportunities, inadequate
competitive wages, inconsistency between housing cost, minimum wage or earned benefits, lack
of support for mental health and substance abuse problems, racial inequality, domestic violence,
and lack of affordable health care.
Reducing or stagnant wages and minimal employment opportunities has increased the
rate of homelessness in America. Most individuals residing in urban centers cannot afford decent
housing due to low incomes and unemployment. Besides, most states' housing rates have
surpassed average income levels forcing many citizens to reside in tents. Inadequate support for
mentally ill citizens and substance abuse addicts also causes homelessness. These people cannot
engage in any active employment and earn adequate income for housing. Therefore, most of
them reside in streets and highways. Homelessness also stimulates mental health, forcing the
victims exposed to other illnesses or economic problems.
Moreover, domestic violence is also a critical factor in homelessness, particularly for
women. Domestic violence victims face a high probability of housing instability since
perpetrators damaged properties, steal money, ruin credit, and prevent work. Therefore, most
women end up homeless. Besides, violence leaves women exposed to homelessness and
economic instability since they separate from critical providers. Lastly, expensive care consumes
a larger portion of people's income, hindering their capability to acquire decent homes.
Alternatively, expensive health hinders from seeking vital health check-up causing increased

mental health cases. Therefore, homelessness in America is a cycle problem that links numerous
factors and requires immediate intervention.