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4 Things to Understand About Homelessness

December 2, 2019

An undeniable stigma is attached to homelessness. While unfair and often misinformed, people tend to judge the less fortunate without truly and completely understanding their stories.

This blog will cover 5 important things you should understand about homelessness in America. From the underlying causes of ending up without a place to live, to the reality of day to day life for the homeless population, understanding the problem is the first step to solving it.

Homeless man holds Hungry sign
#1. Mental Illness is a Major Factor

Reports suggest that up to 33% of homeless people battle mental illness. The most common disorders include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorder.

Understanding mental illness is crucial to understanding homelessness. Many of these individuals either lacked the means to seek treatment for their illness, or simply lost much of the battle. The fact that people aren’t in control of these issues make their situations all the more tragic. And unfortunately, in the fight against their illness, many of these people often turn to drugs.

Teen sitting with hands in face
#2. Drug & Alcohol Use

The statistics on drug on alcohol abuse amongst the homeless are not surprising, yet still shocking. It’s reported that 36% of homeless people were dependent on alcohol, while 26% abused other drugs.

These unhealthy dependencies are often a result of people being put in difficult situations. In other cases, though, these addictions are the root cause of why an individual is homeless to begin with. While recovery programs certainly do exist, it can be extremely difficult for a homeless person to break the vicious cycle of addiction.

Drunk man laying in grass
#3. It Isn’t “Laziness”

This talking point is, quite honestly, absurd. It’s the idea that most of the homeless population simply don’t work because they don’t want to.

When you consider this for a moment, though, it is essentially saying that these people are choosing to be homeless. Almost no one in a healthy state of mind would choose to be homeless.

Man laying on pavement

#4. There Are Ways To Help

While there may not be a complete solution to homelessness coming in the near future, there are ways that communities, and individuals, can come together to help.

Donating to local homeless shelters is a great place to start. Winter jackets, blankets, and even toiletries tend to be in demand during the winter time. Donating money to charities that fight homeless can also go a long way toward making a difference.

In order to solve any problem, we as a society need to be educated on it. Take time to do more research on the underlying causes of homelessness, then do what you can to help. Always remember; a little compassion can go a long way.

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