homelessness research paper

Have you noticed the homeless people on Park Boulevard in Downtown? Have you noticed them walking around City College looking for a nice patch of grass to lie down and doze off for a few hours? Have you seen them in clusters in front of Petco Park as if to cheer on the greatest major baseball team in the country? They are all part of a population of homeless people who are victims of not having a home because of many problems and issues. There are many different circumstances that cause a person to become homeless. It isn’t always caused by drugs or alcohol.

It happens to individuals, as well as families, of all different nationalities and backgrounds. Some fall into this predicament and stay there because they lack the knowledge of organizations ready to help. Through developing programs, government officials, private organizations, and individuals are all working to solve the challenging issue of homelessness. There are a definite number of effective programs available in San Diego helping aid all categories of homeless people into getting their life on the right track. San Diego has many vulnerable people living on the streets.

Homelessness is an enormous issue that America has come to face. Thousands of people live day after day without food, water or a roof over their heads. A pedestrian today can hardly walk very far down a street in Downtown, San Diego before encountering a homeless person asking for spare change, selling a street newspaper, gathering cans and bottles for recycling, or sleeping under a blanket on the Chinchilla 2 sidewalk. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, homelessness is defined as a person without a home (“homelessness”). Poverty is defined as the state of being extremely poor, inferior in quality or sufficient in amount (“poverty”).

The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) list several definitions in their annual fact sheet review including one that states, “homelessness is the condition of being without a permanent place to live, to sleep, eat, shower, come and go as one pleases, leave one’s belongings, and receive one’s mail. It is the condition of being without a place to call one’s home” (NCH). According to the San Diego County Regional Task Force (RTFH) on the Homeless 2012 Annual Report on Homelessness, 9,020 homeless people were counted living on the street on any given night in this city (RTFH).

Along with these definitions of homelessness, an often stereotype is carried along. According to TheHomeless. com, “At the beginning of the decade the stereotypical homeless person was portrayed as a middle aged, white alcoholic male, from an urban neighborhood who wandered the country as a vagrant, tramp or hobo, who lived in isolated downtown area… ” (thehomeless. com). In reality, not every homeless person pushes a shopping cart full of clothes, blankets and second-hand possessions. Not all are haggard, drunk and smelly. Not everyone is an adult, and some choose to stay on the streets.

When the issue of homelessness is discussed, the image often portrayed of a homeless person if of a disheveled, dirty, lazy man sitting against a wall with a bottle of booze in his lap. This image of homelessness is a stereotype that is often used to blame the homelessness problem on its victims, the homeless people themselves. One former welfare recipient speaks to the manner in which such public scorn is inscribed upon those who are poor: Chinchilla 3 Poverty becomes a vicious cycle that is written on our bodies and intimately connected with out value in the world.

Our children need healthy food so that we can continue working; yet working at minimum-wage jobs we have no money for wholesome food and very little time to care for our families. So our children get sick; we lose our jobs to take care of them; we fall more and more deeply into debt before our next unbearable job; and then we really cannot afford medical care. Starting that next minimum-wage job with unpaid bills and ill children puts us farther and farther behind, so that we are even less able to afford good food, adequate child care and health care or emotional healing.

The food banks we gratefully drag our exhausted children to on the weekend hand out bags of rancid candy bars, past-pull-dated hot dogs, stale and broken pasta, and occasionally a bag of wrinkled apples. We are either fat or skinny, and we seem always irreparably ill. Our emaciated or bloated bodies are then read as a sign of lack of discipline and as proof that we have failed to care as we should…. (86). Historically, homelessness has always been a problem in American society. It can be traced back to the Great Depression and even earlier.

Throughout the decades, there have been many programs that have been available to help these homeless people and the poor. In “Opposing Viewpoints: Poverty”, Bob Herbert argues that “government antipoverty programs have made poverty a less serious problem in the United States” (17). We have adopted programs such as FDR’s New Deal, during the Great Depression, in which the government produced more jobs that took little skill, and made these jobs available aiding the poor. Social Security, a Chinchilla 4 retirement/disability program was introduced in 1935 and is still ongoing.

It is where you pay into it while you work through payroll taxes and when, for some reason, become unable to work this money will be available. There is also have AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) and Welfare which gives federal money to homeless and the poor and helps homeless get back on their feet. AFDC, a federal assistance program in effect from 1935 to 1996, created by the Social Security Act and administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, provided financial assistance to children of single parents or whose families had low or no income.

Welfare, any program in which the government provides money or services to citizens who are in need, are available. There are many different types of welfare, but each are generally concerned with a government trying to provide support for its citizens. This may take place through social welfare provisions, social security, or financial aid. Through these still developing programs, the homeless and the poor are able to rise from unfortunate predicaments. Susan Meyer and Christopher Jencks stated evidence that federal, state and local governments spent about $300 billion on programs for the poor in the year 1993:

The six biggest programs were Medicaid ($132 billion), food stamps ($26 billion), Supplemental Security Income ($26 billion), Aid to Families with Dependent Children ($25 billion), low-income housing subsidies ($20 billion) and Head Start and other compensatory education ($10 billion). These programs seem to help the poor with homes and the poor without homes. Jennifer A. Hurley in “The Homeless, Opposing Viewpoints Series,” describes programs like Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families: Chinchilla 5

In 1996, with bipartisan support, President Bill Clinton signed welfare reform into law, ending Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), a federal program established under Franklin. D. Roosevelt that provided cash benefits to needy single mothers. The reformed program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) requires welfare recipients into jobs. TANF requires welfare recipients to find work within two years; limits cash benefits to five years; and places more stringent restrictions on who can receive Social Security Income benefits and food stamps (53).

Services are actually more accessible than they sound; many of them already exist in the community. By and large, homeless individuals can access mainstream programs, including Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and other existing federal assistance programs. Programs are in effect and new ones are being developed to aid all the different categories that make up the homeless population. There are shelters available for the needy all around San Diego County. There are food banks, shelters, alcohol and drug rehab treatments, clinics and free dental care.

Currently, a permanent homeless shelter, former World Trade Center building, is under construction on 6th Avenue and B Street in Downtown, San Diego. According San Diego’s local newspaper, The Union Tribune, City Council voted unanimously, late February of 2012, to support the $32. 3 million project by funding half of the initiative with redevelopment tax dollars aimed at eliminating blight in downtown. The remaining costs will be covered by federal tax credits and $2 million from the San Diego Housing Commission.

The center will provide 223 permanent and transitional beds Chinchilla 6 for the region’s homeless population as well as medical, substance abuse and job-training services. It is scheduled to open in December 2012 (Gustafson). This permanent homeless shelter will not only be available for the winter, but year round. This shelter won’t be the only resource available for the homeless, given the thousands of people without shelter are living on the streets of San Diego. There are a number of effective programs that have changed lives.

Resources are available in San Diego for those less fortunate. The Homeless Shelter Directory is a website where shelters and services for the needy are listed all around San Diego County. This directory provides listing for homeless shelters, homeless service organizations, monetary assistance, transitional housing, free clinics (dental and medical), low cost and free treatment centers, outreach centers, day shelters, relief organizations that can help the needy, women’s shelters and battered women’s service, food pantries, soup kitchens, and food banks (Homeless Shelter Directory).

A shelter that was listed in the Homeless Shelter Directory is a common, well known shelter, the St. Vincent De Paul Village facility. St. Vincent de Paul Village is the largest rehabilitation program for the homeless in San Diego meeting the needs of 851 men, women, and children living at the Village each day and feeding people up to 3,000 meals a day. This program not only feeds and shelters the homeless but also provide programs that teach the homeless how to get back on their feet. St. Vincent de Paul Village’s introduction of their website elaborates about their programs and services: The Village is located on a 3. -block campus in the East Village neighborhood of downtown San Diego and serves families with children, single women, and single men including chronically homeless individuals, veterans and people living with Chinchilla 7 addiction and/or mental illness. Providing 41 percent of all available transitional housing beds in the city of San Diego on a nightly basis, the Village is the largest residential homeless services provider in the city. The Village also manages 362 units of Permanent Supportive Housing providing people with a permanent solution to homelessness. After providing the basic needs to these homeless individuals, St.

Vincent de Paul Village focuses on the issues contributing to each client’s homelessness and target a rapid return to permanent housing. The programs that the Village provides are Transitional Housing, Case Management, Addiction Treatment & Education Center, Mental Health Services, Village Family Health Center, Career & Education Center, Chaplaincy, Child Development Center, Assessment Center, Culinary Arts Program (CAP), Health & Wellness Program, and Housing Counseling. In the Homeless Shelter Directory, there are other programs that were developed to aid the different categories that make up the homeless population.

For example there is a maternity shelter available in San Diego. This specific shelter provides safe and secure shelter with transitional living services for pregnant, parenting young women and their dependent children. The maternity shelter program assists pregnant and parenting young women that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, to develop the skills necessary to live independently while providing a safe and stable home for themselves and their dependent children (Homeless Shelter Directory).

Another shelter is named Pathfinders available that offers a residential recovery program for homeless men with co-occurring disorders including substance abuse and mental illness (Homeless Shelter Directory). San Diego Homeless Services Organization in Downtown Chinchilla 8 plans, organizes, and coordinates initiatives and strategies designed to assist the homeless community. It maintains connections with City departments and other government agencies to formulate and administer policies affecting the homeless community.

This organization also coordinates the City’s Winter Shelter program, the Homeless Outreach Teams, and the Special Needs Housing program (Homeless Shelter Directory). These programs have the potential to end homelessness in San Diego one day. There are many different circumstances that cause a person to be homeless. The thousands of people living out on the streets of San Diego fall into this predicament and stay there because they lack the knowledge of organizations ready to provide all the necessities to survive at no cost to them.

There are programs and services ready to lend a hand. There are government officials, private organizations, and individuals are all working to solve the challenging issue of homelessness and poverty through developing programs to aid all categories of homeless people into getting their life on the right track. Homelessness is a big problem in our city today, but there are many programs set up to help those less fortunate. Helping the homeless become more aware of these programs available to them and of their options, could assist in providing better care of the homeless.

These programs work and are effective in the lives of many. This major crisis that is affecting our society is slowly, but surely, being addressed. Chinchilla 9 Works Cited “Homelessness”. Merriam-Webster. com. Merriam-Webster, 2011. Web. 4 Oct 2012. “poverty. ” Merriam-Webster. com. Merriam-Webster, 2011. Web. 4 Oct 2012. Gustafson, Craig. “Permanent downtown homeless center approved. ” Utsandiego. com. Union Tribune, 1 Mar 2011. Web. 8 Nov 2012. Herbert, Bob. Opposing Viewpoints Series: Poverty. San Diego.

Greenhaven Press, Inc. 1999. Print. Homeless Shelter Directory. San Diego California Homeless Shelters and Services for the Needy. HSD, 2012. Web. 8 Nov 2012. Meyer, Susan, Christopher Jencks. War On Poverty: No Apologies, Please. New York Times 9 Nov. 1995. New York ed. Print. National Coalition for the Homeless. National Coalition for the Homeless. NCH, 2012. Web. 8 Oct 2012. San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless. RTFH, 13 Mar 2012. Web. 8 Oct 2012. The Homeless. Thehomeless. com. 10 Dec 2012. Web. 10 Dec 2012.

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