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Kedesha Powell
English 101
Prof. K. Smith
March 25, 2019

Homelessness and poverty are strongly correlated and linked, people who are impoverish

are frequently unable to pay for necessities such as housing, food and childcare etc., where a loss

of income acts as a major factor associated with homelessness, because often it is housing which

absorbs a high portion of income that must be dropped. Homeless refers to a person who lacks

fixed, regular and adequate residence either long term/chronic, short term/transitional and

episodic homelessness. In America homelessness is a major problem, 553,742 individuals

experienced homelessness national January 2016 on a single night. Housing and Urban

Development states that homelessness results from an array of factors including structural

factors, housing systemic failures, lack of adequate services and poverty. We cannot eliminate

poverty, but we can reduce homelessness. We need to increase income and wages across the

board for all demographics, regulate the housing cost making it more effective and stable,

provide more permanent support services such as correction, health and addiction facilities and

increase employment opportunities so that jobs are easier to find which may help to reduce


Structural factors are economic and societal issues that affect opportunities and social

environments for individuals. Lacking enough income, access to affordable housing and health

supports and the experience of discrimination create challenges for individuals to earn money

and pay for basic survival needs and housing due to shifts in economy nationally. The minimum

wage is set by the state based on economic conditions and cost of living alone with many other
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factors. However, workers across the country who earn a minimum wage are struggling to afford

even the basic necessities of life. Essentially, increased costs of living such as rent, gas prices,

utilities and other factors have dramatically outpaced increases in wages. An adequate living

wage provides an income that takes into account the actual cost of living in a specific

community and ensures that families can afford the basics such as food, clothing, housing

payments, child care and transportation, to name a few. A higher or increase minimum wage

based on the actual cost of living will reduce families ending up on the streets and becoming

homeless and ensures the individuals are ability to stay housed.

Systemic housing failures refers to limited and low-income housing that are safe, stable

and affordable, this directly contributes to homelessness. In the 1970s communities had plenty

of affordable housing, when a family or individual experienced a crisis and lost housing, they

had the ability to quickly find a new place to live, however, by the mid-1980s the supply of low-

cost housing shrunk dramatically, since then, rent have continued to rise and individuals living

on set wages are paying large percentages of their monthly income on housing alone as a result,

even in today’s current society. The National Law Center is the only national legal group

dedicated to ending and preventing homelessness, it works to expand access to affordable

housing, meet the immediate and long-term needs of those who are homeless, and strengthen the

social safety-net through policy advocacy, public education, impact litigation, and advocacy

training and support. Higher income and job creation will allow the economy to grow and

balance, which may help to reduce the current crisis in todays housing sector.

Focusing on low income housing alone, without attention to adequate services needed

like health services, behavioral health services and support services will continue to result in

unstable and recurrent homelessness for many, due to vulnerability, because approximately 16%
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of the single adult homeless population suffers from some form of severe and persistent

mental illness (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2005). For example, we need more adequate

discharge planning for people leaving hospitals, correction and mental health and addition

facilities, smooth transitions from child welfare and more support for immigrants and refugees.

With all these options and services being more readily available and accessible, individuals

would have more realistic prevention pathways and appropriate support base on their individual

needs to get back on their feet rather than becoming homeless as a result.

The nationally poverty rate is 12.7%, 40.6 million people according to the Unites States

Census Bureau in 2016 are living in poverty. Lack of employment opportunities and decline in

available public assistance are factors that contribute to continuing poverty and, in most cases,

families become homeless as a result. With high unemployment rates job are hard to find in this

current economy and for individuals who are working in some cases the jobs do not provide an

escape from poverty. Many families leaving welfare struggle to get medical care, food, and

housing as a result of loss of benefits, low wages, and unstable employment. The different

states need to create a system that enable individuals and families to obtain above-poverty

employment in order to sustain themselves when work is not available or possible.

Reducing homelessness is a long-term intervention and prevention method which

requires members of government and the appropriate programs responsible for providing people

with the necessary financial and emotionally support, working together to address issues of

declining and stagnate wages, economic restructuring, systemic inequalities and unemployment.
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Work Cited

Nationally Housing and Urban date publis/January 2016

National Coalition 2017