About Homelessness

High School ・Art ・MLA


It is stated that about half a million people are considered to be homeless in the United States. Some live in shelters while others in the streets with a quarter of this population being reported as children (Semuels). It is also indicated that about 15 percent those who lack homes are described to have fallen under the chronically affected group, implying that they have gone for many years with no homes. The issue has thus created the need for the assessment of not only the scope but also the demographic factors that are involved. The sociological assessment of the issue of homelessness has since resulted in the understanding of the limits of homelessness which requires that the demographic predisposing factors are factored when addressing the problem.

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The Seriousness of the Issue

The subject of homelessness is a problem not only in the US but in other countries where a section of the population lacks adequate shelter. The grave outcome is that homelessness associated with adverse health outcomes on the subjects, implying that there is a people could become mentally retarded when they continually live in impoverished conditions (Duchesne and Rothwell 95). A host of other adverse effects have since been highlighted which include poverty, tuberculosis, malnutrition, and the dental problem all of which devastate the homeless groups (Duchesne and Rothwell 95). A host of the problems that affect the rest of the population silently end to be prominent and are commonly-occurring in the streets, meaning that the problem is grave. Such conditions include alcoholism, diabetes, hypertension, and physical disabilities (Duchesne and Rothwell 98). It is also noted that living in the streets exposes the subject to parasitic infection, frostbite, and violence. The fact that a section of the population is impacted by all of these conditions when the rest are not implied implies that it is a serious problem that needs to be addressed with urgency.

How Harmlessness is Being Addressed

The US government has already factored the adversity of the problem and tried to address it in the past. The use of shelters has been common in the past and they have been useful to an extent (Semuels). The use of shelters means that the government provides beds to those who are facing the challenges. It is a method that has been used often during the cold and rainy nights when it is fatal to sleep outside. It is noted, however, that shelters tend to be very expensive to operate in the contemporary setting. For instance, the cost of serving a family when there is a crisis rises to almost $4819 (Semuels). However, when compared to providing the affected group with a voucher for housing the costs reduces to $1162. It has thus been noted that while shelter appears to be an effective way of solving the problem, one wonders whether such solutions mean that the affected party has now received a home.

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Sociological Perspectives

The assessment of the problem of homelessness at a sociological dimension draws into several factors including the symbolic interactionism, the functionalist approach, and the conflict theory. The three are described on the basis of the micro and macro dimensions. The symbolic understanding places an emphasis on the use of symbols when breaking down the issue of the lack of homes (Reiss 509). Meanwhile, the functionalism approach takes into consideration the association that exists between varied aspects of the society and the nature in which they are adaptive. Lastly, the conflict theory factors the reality that resources are competitive and hence scarce with the rich taking advantage (Reiss 511).

The three issues highlighted in the sociological approach are relevant because they are in tandem with the course material. The first concept is that symbolism is a central feature in the theoretical assessment of problems in the society being an aspect of modelling. Furthermore, with the sociological tenet of functionalism, it is possible to combine different features that constitute diverse constituents in making up for the whole. It is essential in understanding the manner in which different factors act together to enable the reader appreciate the varying limits of a problem. The last model that is appropriate and that reflects on the class lecture material is that at a macro level, one considers that it is possible for an issue to be broken down into divergent constituents that are not only competitive but also rare to come by (Reiss 510).

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The last consideration that is appropriate in the examination of the issue of homelessness in the sociological perspective is that the theories further enable the reader to understand the nature of the problem. In this regard, it is appropriate to break down the issue into dimension where the reader can understand the micro and macro factors. Firstly, in the symbolic viewpoint, it implies that symbols such as shelters in the street, high rates of diseases among the street inhabitants and other symbolic features are used to denote the seriousness of the problem (Reiss 509). It is also crucial to examine the subject from a functionalist perspective, which enables the understanding that there are different parts that have resulted in the incidence of homelessness. Such include poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, mental problem, among many other issues that overall lead to someone being rendered homeless and unable to regain their status. The last consideration is in the context of the conflict theory (Reiss 510). It follows that the problem is a social issue that has resulted in scarce resources in the efforts to address the problem. There are chances that homelessness resulted from the rich taking advantage of the poor through grabbing them their rightful opportunities and in the process rendering them not able to meet their personal needs.

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In summary, it is worth noting that the issue of homelessness is a huge challenge in the US because many populations have ended up living in unhealthy conditions. The realization that many are suffering from adverse health conditions means that lacking a place to call home in a national concern in the US. It also follows that while the government has tried to provide shelter, it has not been sustainable enough to address the problem amicably. The sociological breakdown of the problem includes the symbolic, functionalist, and perceiving it as a source of conflict in the society. It is also critical that heading into the future, the responsible authorities evaluate the methods that have been implemented in the past to determine their feasibility in controlling the growing cases of chronic homelessness. Overall, therefore, it requires that considering that the problem has already been found to be a national concern, hence the need for a reevaluation of the failed efforts and addressing the issue from a sociological viewpoint.

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Works Cited

Duchesne, Annie T., and David W. Rothwell. “What Leads to Homeless Shelter Re-Entry? An Exploration of the Psychosocial, Health, Contextual and Demographic Factors.” Canadian Journal of Public Health 107.1 (2016): e94–e99. Web.

Reiss, Ira L. “A Sociological Perspective.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 45.3 (2016): 509–511. Web.

Semuels, Alana. “How Can the U.S. End Homelessness?” The Atlantic (2016): n. pag. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/end-homelessness-us/479115/.


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