You are on page 1of 7

Nguyen 1

Alex Nguyen
Ali M. Meghdadi
English 39C/ Section 33321
February 13, 2015
An Endless Cycle
The problem
The risk of urbanization is whether we have enough opportunities and resources for the
many immigrants coming to America. If there are not enough resources such as jobs or homes,
both immigrants and Americans will be living a life of poverty. With not enough programs and
support, it is nearly impossible to recover from poverty. Without jobs, not everyone can afford
basic human needs. A recession can and has happen in America causing many Americans to lose
their jobs and became homeless. The major problem that causes homelessness is failure to meet
financial need and paying ones bill. Natural catastrophes like earthquakes, hurricane, or fire can
destroy homes and put people into homeless positions. Family breakdown and disputes, sexual
and physical abused, drugs or alcohol can occur throughout a persons life and influences
whether one becomes homeless or not. It is urgent that there will be programs and support to
fight against these problems. It is possible to stop poverty but in order to do so; we need to
support each other. It is difficult to gather support because of misconceived ideas about
homelessness.
Why people do not care?

Nguyen 2

People fear homeless off the presumptions that they are beggars, addicts, mentally ill or
violent (Yook). People associate the idea of homelessness with the characteristics of laziness
and hostility. Majority of American would think it is their fault for being poor and because they
are not resilient enough to get out of their own situation, it is their fault. Just because people
work hard, overcome struggles, and succeed in surpassing the poverty line does not mean that
those who are homeless did not work hard. It does not mean that they are lazy and did not
overcome struggles. According to Paul Toro, a psychology professor at Wayne State University,
Toro found that compared to other countries, people who live in countries like the United States
that have more capitalistic economies are more likely to believe personal failings are the primary
cause of homelessness and feel less compassion for homeless people (Figueroa). There are
people in society who do not realize that these poor people are the same as everyone else in the
world but born in different environment or because of tragic events that happened, not because
they failed. If the community is more aware of the cause for their lack of a job, education, or
home, people might be more compassionate and thus, willing to lend a hand instead of having
these preconceived notions about homelessness.
Why people should care
Homeless people have the highest rates of health and substance abuse. This makes them
more vulnerable to diseases and drugs which cause a greater strain on emergency services
(Covert). Although it takes resources to help homeless people, if homeless people are not helped,
it costs more. According to Bryce Covert, an economic policy editor, The costs of putting the
homeless in jail for violating ordinances or putting them in the hospital for emergency care
are three times as expensive as helping homeless people find a place to live. One Florida county
spent more than $5 million over a decade jailing just 37 homeless people; on the other hand, one

Nguyen 3

apartment complex for the homeless in North Carolina saved $1.8 million in its first year
(Covert).The money that is being used to jail homeless people and emergency care can be instead
used to find housing for homeless people. If homeless people are sheltered, they would not have
to deal with the unsanitary streets and violence. They would not need the emergency care if they
are in a safe environment. Many homeless sleeping on the street sleep in fear of being attacked,
abused, and robbed. Many of these homeless have been subjected to police harassment such as
being unfairly searched and arrested. The cold, hunger, fear, lack of personal hygiene damages
their mental and physical health. Most do not shower or wash their clothes because they do have
access to showers or washing machines. Poor housing conditions increase risk of severe health
problems by 25 percent during childhood and early adulthood.
The children living with parents who are homeless are affected by the poor environment
they are in. They are twice as likely as other children to leave school without any general
certification of secondary education. This is a problem because education is one of the solutions
to end poverty. With less people becoming educated, they will not be able to get higher wages to
meet living expenses resulting in more people under the poverty line and eventually becoming
homeless. The U.S. Department of Education revealed that the number of homeless students in
the United States is on the rise and has been for decades. Their survey found that during the
2012-2013 school year, there were 1.3 million homeless students in the U.S (Peer). The 1.3
million homeless students does not include the children that are too young for school. An average
of 2.5 million kids is homeless annually. Education is what we need in this constantly developing
world. Every year new technologies come out. Educated people know how to use it to benefit
them, whereas uneducated people are unaware and cannot be efficient. Education helps develop
our reasoning and helps people understand what is right and wrong and the consequences that

Nguyen 4

comes from their actions. Without education, there will be chaos all around. With kids not being
able to focus in school, they will not develop the necessary skills to be successful in their life and
will end up homeless themselves. It is a repeating cycle of poverty and homelessness.
According to the British Medical Association, anxiety and depression are three times as
common among homeless children. Homeless children have six times as many speeches and
stammering problems compared with non-homeless children. Evidence suggests that homeless
children tend to have lower academic achievements which can increase the likelihood of insecure
or low-paid jobs or unemployment in the future. With all these obstacles pitted against them
during their formative years, children growing up in bad housing often spend the rest of their
lives struggling to catch up. Evidence also suggests that those who suffer bad housing run an
increased risk of homelessness in adulthood.
How to make people start caring?
Increase in awareness of non-profit sectors is a stepping stone to solving the problem of
poverty. According to Dan Pallotta, the non-profit sectors is put into a disadvantaged position in
many aspect compared to profit sectors. Non-profit cannot use money to lure talent away from
the for-profit sector. This is because people do not want to take that lifelong economic challenge
when being a part of a non-profit. It is more beneficial for a person to make lots of money
working for a for-profit organization than a non-profit. A graduate in business out of Stanford
University gets an average of 400,000 dollars, whereas a CEO of a 5 million dollar charity is
232,000 dollars and a CEO of a hunger charity is 84,000 dollars. The non-profit cannot advertise
on the same scale as the for-profit sector. In a for-profit organization, they spend millions of
dollars on advertising in order to get their product out to the public but non-profit are

Nguyen 5

discriminated if they spend any amount of money for advertising. If there is no advertising, how
are people going to know about the cause? People prefer if their money to go to the actual cause
instead of overhead. This is a misconception between the world, overhead is not bad, it actually
is good because it brings in much more money for the cause. The non-profit cannot take risks
like the for-profit. If the for-profit spend hundreds thousands of dollars on a movie that has
horrible rating, it is okay. No one is going to sue the entertainment industry, however, if the nonprofit organization does not reach 75 percent profit to the cause in the first 12 months
(Pallotta). People start to question the persons character. They are limited in the amount of times
and at the same time they are pressured to do what theyre said. They have to make money and
they cannot get funds for their organization by offering profit to the donors in order to receive the
investment. Amazon made no profit for six years but the sponsors did not question its authority.
No one would want to support the cause and wait six years for something to happen for the nonprofit. In a for-profit organization, you can provide profit to attract capital from peoples ideas
but in a non-profit, it cannot provide profit. These disadvantages have contributed greatly to the
defeat of non-profit organization all over the world. The number of non-profit organization that
crosses the $50 million dollar annual revenue barrier is 144, whereas, the for-profit organization
is 46,136 (Pallotta).
What they can do?
People Assisting the Homeless, (PATH), was formed in 1983. PATH was created by
simply writing a letter to the community. Attendance was not mandatory and voluntary. 60
people showed up and they had a discussing on how to help people who were homeless in their
neighborhood. The group started distributing food and clothing to those on the street. That is all
it takes to help out the homeless. Writing a letter is cheap and putting it in a mailbox is easy.

Nguyen 6

Once some supporters gather, it is possible to gather some extra supplies everyone do not use and
donate it to the homeless. Another way to help the homeless if time is an issue is through social
media. Social media is a great way to spread awareness for those experiencing homelessness. It
is free and effective. P.A.T.H has a Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and a blog. It only
takes a minute to click a button to share knowledge with friends and the world. An hour a day
can be used to prepare lunch for homeless. Brings friends and make this an enjoyable experience.
An hour a day is enough time to organize a hygiene kit for those living on the streets. An hour a
day can get a person started fundraising for PATH. A day can get a person involved in PATH and
volunteer or interning. You can hire, house, or help homeless. Putting homeless to work brings
great positive development in a homeless lives. If you have extra space, it is possible to house
them. Donating can be as easy as a sending an email.
What will not work
Raising the minimum wage will not solve poverty or help homeless. The B.C. Federation is
having a campaign to increase the minimum wage from $10.25 per hour to $15 an hour. That
might sound helpful for those who have jobs but the people who are in poverty are not those that
earn minimum wage. Those that work at minimum wage are considered low income. As more
workers gain higher wages, their increase in wage comes at the expense of losing employment
opportunities. It is the young and low skilled workers, who are affected since they possess less
job qualification and experience. The result of increasing minimum rage reduces young peoples
opportunity to gain work experience that helps them develop basic skills in order to earn higher
levels of income. The higher the minimum wage, the more qualification the employer will
expect. That will prevent anyone, especially homeless people getting jobs because most do not
have an address, transportation, and a form of communication.

Nguyen 7

Bibliography
Covert, Bryce. "The Government Is Proving That Homelessness Is A Solvable
Problem." ThinkProgress RSS. N.p., 28 Aug. 2014. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.
Pallotta, Dan. The way we think about charity is dead wrong. TED. Mar. 2013. Lecture
Peer, Karisa. ""It's a Hard-Knock Life for Us": Homeless Children's Invisibility in U.S. Schools
and Beyond Poverty Insights." "It's a Hard-Knock Life for Us": Homeless Children's
Invisibility in U.S. Schools and Beyond Poverty Insights. N.p., 15 Dec. 2014. Web. 13
Feb. 2015.
"What Is It like to Be Homeless?" - Shelter England. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2015.