Challenges the Homeless Face We Need To Know More About

By  //  March 25, 2020

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Homelessness is a widespread epidemic that has upended the lives of many throughout the country, at least hundreds of thousands of people.

The dogged misconception that homelessness is something that can be helped, or is self-inflicted creates a stigma that skewers the reality of the situation.

The harsh truth is that homelessness can hit virtually anyone at any time in their life, for a variety of reasons often beyond their control. Sometimes homelessness can be relatively temporary, but even so, the ramifications can last a lifetime.

Instead of casting blame or allowing governments to further shirk their responsibilities towards citizens, it would be better for people to become more knowledgeable about the issue. 

The following are some of the hardest challenges faced by those struggling with homelessness.

Domestic Violence

News stories covering the hardship of homelessness often bury the lead – for example, did you know that many of those who lose their homes are runaways or children and women fleeing domestic abuse?

The statistics are staggering, but in the face of a dangerous home environment and the absence of adequate law enforcement, running away to a local shelter or battling it out on the streets seems to be the only solution.

The trauma can be debilitating, and unfortunately, many end up losing a roof over their heads just to be able to escape a violent partner. 

Furthermore, these victims might feel that they need to be on the run all the time, never staying for too long in one place lest their abuser finds them.

It’s a terrible dynamic, one which makes it a lot harder to get these people back into the fold of their local societies if the requisite services or social workers are even around to do so.

Mental Health 

The connection between mental health issues, addiction, substance abuse, and homelessness is not to be overstated. While our society has come a long way in destigmatizing therapy and mental health, access to the fundamental resources remains scarce, and they are almost completely unavailable to the homeless.

The load has been left to nonprofits and a variety of stakeholders to help solve the problem; this trusted foundation fully recognizes the importance of mental health resources and how vital it is for the homeless.

Taking care of their emotional and physical well being during what is doubtless a trying time in their life is a deeply worthwhile service, and one would hope that more institutions and organizations could step up to the plate.

Physical Disabilities

People tend to have the wool over their eyes regarding why homelessness remains a prevalent issue, even in a society as rich as our own.

The fact of the matter is that our modern workplace is deeply hostile to anyone who possesses a physical disability, and without the adequate resources, a supportive and financially solvent family, and other pieces of luck, people often find themselves without work and therefore a way to pay for their home. 

Life on the street ends up being just as vicious and cruel to the physically challenged, but they are often left with little choice given the lack of good job opportunities and rampant discrimination.

Poor Nutrition

Sadly, life on the streets means very little – if any – access to proper nutrition. Soup kitchens aren’t as widespread as people may think, nor do they serve meals at all times of the day.

The homeless are typically left to fend for themselves, and almost all the foods they are given lack essential vitamins.

Poor teeth, blurry vision, heavy breathing, skin irritations, and other complications from a bad diet frequently appear in the daily life of a homeless person, and their treatment is virtually impossible given the lack of resources.

Respiratory Illnesses

A multitude of chronic ailments often dogs the lives of the homeless, the least of which is respiratory illnesses as a result of living in the streets with no protection from the incessant pollution in major cities.

Or, having to endure drastic drops in temperature levels without the comfort of extra clothes, a warm home to go to, and so on.

A poor respiratory system makes them even more vulnerable to a plethora of other difficult medical conditions, and they often go untreated for a long time since access to medical resources to someone in their position is next to nil. 

Becoming homeless is a deeply alienating experience, one that is not made any better by the enduring precarity of life on the margins.

Nor do the negative stereotypes and misconceptions help the matters – in fact, they exacerbate the problem and compound the sense of vulnerability and loneliness amongst the homeless.

Only by becoming more aware of the problem and thinking of different solutions that can be implemented by experienced professionals can the issue be resolved appropriately. 

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