Some Causes of Homelessness


The Braves game has just ended as people get into their vehicles to leave the stadium.  As they pass through downtown Atlanta, fans stare at the overwhelming number of homeless people sleeping in the parking decks and on benches beside the road. Covered in rags, one shameful man asks a family for what they can spare. Another less fortunate man waits patiently for the light to turn red, with a rag and Windex in hand. He rushes over to clean the windshield of a Mercedes Benz expecting a few dollars in return. Observing this, one can help but to wonder what causes effect this lifestyle. The loss of a job, substance addiction, and the lack of affordable housing are just a few of the causes of homelessness.

            First of all, unemployment has been one of the leading factors of homelessness. Employees may be laid off from their jobs and are unable to find employment elsewhere, causing them to lose their possessions. There has been a tremendous decline in secure jobs that offer benefits. Despite the recent increase in the minimum wage, the cost of living has increased more easily outweighing the benefits of the increase in pay. Technological advances also play a part in unemployment. In the early days there were factory jobs, such as automotive assembly line workers. These employees would perform a simple task such as putting lug nuts on tires. Due to the advances in technology, these types of jobs, along with many others, are dwindling.

Secondly, substance addiction is also one of the main causes for people to become homeless. Problems with everyday life, such as marriage, jobs, and financial discomfort may cause someone to begin abusing a substance. Whether it may be alcohol or narcotics, people begin using them as a “vacation” from their everyday, stressful lives. These people may become hooked on the substance and spend endless amounts of money on their addictions. Legal trouble may cause their licenses to be revoked, making it difficult to get to work. Once they find themselves sleeping under an overpass, they may begin to realize they need help. All too often it is too late for help because they no longer have health insurance to pay for treatment.

Finally, there is a high competition for low-income housing making it difficult for the homeless to find a home. There is also a limited number of shelters and an excess number of homeless people, which is why there is a waiting list to get housing. Single Room Occupancy (SRO) helps the poor afford a home, but once again, it is limited leaving some to live on the street.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem there is going to be an end to the homeless problems that the world faces any time soon. All that can be done is to take care of the seemingly small number of homeless people we can at a time and hope that one day down the road a solution will come about.









Matt Davis

English 1101

Back to 1101 Essays