The topic for my map that I will be doing is about homelessness in the Bronx. The reason why I wanted to do this is not only because I live in the Bronx but every time I come home from work I would always see and notice homeless people laying down on the street asking for money. I would always think of how they got in that position, was it lack of not paying for bills?/health problems?/ or maybe some other personal problems. I remember one time I was discussing this with one of my friends and he said that being homeless was a choice this spoke for me to explore the reasons/circumstances that lead to homelessness in the Bronx. When it comes to the topic of homeless, most of us will readily agree that seeing people living in poverty is sad we feel pity for them. When this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of it being a concern for society. Whereas some are convinced that homelessness is a product and it results from circumstances beyond an individual’s control. Society needs to acknowledge that they are the only ones that can help the homeless which is why this is being presented to you. The bronx has up to 1.3 million people living in it and half of that, 50% are homeless and/or struggling to keep up with the bills. This issue is to the people specifically in my borough because I live here and I know I can relate because we see homelessness at least once a day, whether it is on the bus, train or even on the street. Although homelessness is a major issue because some people think it is a choice but reality along with data and facts says it’s due to some factors such as mental health, personal problems or being in debt. Consequently, this should be a concern but I want people to see the viewpoint that being homeless is not a choice and figure out why and to try to prevent it. An example of how homelessness live on a day to day basis is shown: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHDkALRz5Rk)
Nowadays in society the topic of homelessness is not a major concern because people do not seem to notice and automatically assume it is a choice rather looking at the factors that can cause it such as being in debt or mental problems. According to the article “Changes in daily substance use among people experiencing homelessness and mental illness: 24-month outcomes following randomization to Housing First or usual care” it talks about some factors that affect people to the point so much that it brings them down and eventually they are homeless. In Julian M. Somers, Akm Moniruzzaman & Anita Palepu views they state, “Substance-related disorders are the most common psychiatric conditions among people who are homeless, and are associated with elevated risk for chronic homelessness, infectious diseases and mortality.” This is what happens to people when they become homeless, they get diseases, disorders due to the fact that they are homeless. Once people end up being homeless it can have a devastating effect on them. For instance another article called “ Mastery matters: consumer choice, psychiatric symptoms and problematic substance use among adults with histories of homelessness” talks about the problems of the homeless, what to do to survive and I can’t help to think after reading this that people still think being homeless is a choice, they are struggling with society as is and are trying to get out of the hole. The author Ronni Michelle Greenwood states “Indeed, individuals with histories of homelessness do have higher rates of trauma, victimization (e.g. Goodman et al. 1991, Stewart et al. 2004) and physical illness (Hwang 2001) than the general population.” This means that homelessness can affect the person even after they get out of being homeless which can have an impact for them during their lifetime. The way homeless starts can be troubling. For instance the article “Why Are People Homeless?” mentions, “ERODING WORK OPPORTUNITIES Reasons why homelessness persists include stagnant or falling incomes and less secure jobs which offer fewer benefits. Low-wage workers have been particularly have been left behind as the disparity between rich and poor has mushroomed.” This is just one of the ways people get fired and then become homeless, it is not their choice to b e fired.
People need to reconsider the options and think about the topic: Homelessness and need to understand that it is a major issue in today’s society and see that it is not a choice, here are just some ways people do not choose to be homeless. Another way people become homeless the article explains is housing. When the apartments go up it cause people to move out therefore hard to just move out of the home so unexpectedly. However, many mentally ill homeless people are unable to obtain access to supportive housing and/or other treatment services. The mental health support services most needed include case management, housing, and treatment. it shows the data that was collected from previous year. To start off, the article “ Why are people homeless?” says “A lack of affordable housing and the limited scale of housing assistance programs have contributed to the current housing crisis and to homelessness. According to HUD, in recent years the shortages of affordable housing are most severe for units affordable to renters with extremely low incomes. Federal support for low-income housing has fallen 49% from 1980 to 2003 (National Low Income Housing Coalition, 2005). About 200,000 rental housing units are destroyed annually. Renting is one of the most viable options for low income people (Joint Center for Housing Studies).” Housing can cause a major issue due to the fact there is a limit to the housing assisting programs and on top of this the rental housing units get taken out per year. Another way people can become homeless is mental illness. Mental illness is “any disease of the mind, psychological ones”. They can control how you act and why you act like that. The article “Why are people homeless?.” gives more insight. There it says: “Despite the disproportionate number of severely mentally ill people among the homeless population, increases in homelessness are not attributable to the release of severely mentally ill people from institutions. However, many mentally ill homeless people are unable to obtain access to supportive housing and/or other treatment services. The mental health support services most needed include case management, housing, and treatment.”. It is not the people’s fault that they have mental illness rather they need help instead of society pushing them away. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOraK2E58vo) Homelessness can not be a choice and is not a choice. The last two factors that can contribute to homelessness is the lack to afford healthcare and being in a domestic violence with someone. Not being able to have healthcare can lead to major problems such as developing illness therefore not being able to work and thus not being able to pay the rent. With domestic violence when women get into this once they get kicked out it is hard to get back on your feet. In the article “Why are people homeless.?” it states “Lack of Affordable Health Care: For families and individuals struggling to pay the rent, a serious illness or disability can start a downward spiral into homelessness, beginning with a lost job, depletion of savings to pay for care, and eventual eviction. One in three Americans, or 86.7 million people, is uninsured. Of those uninsured, 30.7% are under eighteen. In 2007-2008, four out of five people that were uninsured were working families. Work-based health insurance has become rarer in recent years, especially for workers in the agricultural or service sectors (Families USA, 2009). Domestic Violence: Battered women who live in poverty are often forced to choose between abusive relationships and homelessness. In addition, 50% of the cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2005).Approximately 63% of homeless women have experienced domestic violence in their adult lives (Network to End Domestic Violence).” This is the data to show how homelessness can occur and it is not by choice. (https://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/basic-facts-about-homelessness-new-)
Research has shown that homelessness is caused not by only one factor but by multiple and none of those factors are a choice, rather they just happen not by the people choosing it. This can impact society as is and we need people to see the other perspectives and points of view that this is not chosen for them. The homeless may affect the community which therefore can have a lasting impact on how society runs. There are many myths and assumptions that homeless just “choose” to be homeless but the truth and data shows it is not the truth. I hope this brought a greater understanding and opened a new light for you. (www.understandhomelessness.com)