Psychology Name College Homelessness in the USA There still exist problem of homelessness in the United States long after the United States Housing Act of 1937 made it clear that the federal government would provide safe, decent and affordable housing. It is not that the government has neglected the poorest people in the country. The United States Quality of Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 reveals that the federal government has little role to play in ensuring that every citizen is housed. This is a show that there are other factors contributing to the growing problem of homelessness.
In every American city, one is likely to find homeless families living in abandoned buildings, cars, shelters among other places. This paper looks at two biological factors and two social factors that may be related to becoming or being homeless. History on mental illness is one of the contributing factors to increase in homelessness. A majority of the homeless persons experience mental problems as a result of traumatic circumstances that dominate their lives (The United States Conference of Mayors, 2008). The illness takes different forms and mainly affects the functioning of the mind.
This makes it difficult for an individual to lead a normal life as it becomes hard to perform daily duties. In addition, relatives or close friends often avoid associating with the mentally ill pushing them to the streets. Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness affecting homeless individuals. According to the National Institute of Health (201 1), approximately twenty-five per cent of the mentally ill population comes from the homeless population. This is a high figure that is attributed to the stressful situations characterized by the depression.
Individuals in such situations have a egative outlook towards life and are constantly struggling to make things work out. A person without a home feels lost and has a general low self-esteem. In addition, such a person has no interest in previous activities that were considered fun and would most likely keep to themselves. The isolation and loneliness often leads to depression for persons living in a homeless community. Moreover, situations that result in depression can result trom actual homelessness or can occur atter the loss ot a home (Marcuse, 1988).
Another form of mental illness that has relations with becoming or eing homeless is schizophrenia. However, unlike depression, schizophrenia has biological and genetic components. This means that it does not result from external features like harmful environment or homelessness. The mental condition is devastating as it affects the how one perceives reality. This makes it difficult for one to handle the daily activities. Therefore, it is the condition that makes an individual become homeless. Individuals suffering from schizophrenia display two categories of symptoms.
The first category of symptoms is referred to as positive symptoms. They re in form of delusions and hallucinations and cannot be seen on healthy individuals. For instance, hallucinations take the form of smell, sounds, and sights felt only by the affected persons. On the other hand, delusions are consistent false beliefs regardless of whether they are true or not. The second category is that of negative symptoms which are evidently seen in the life of a healthy individual but are not considered schizophrenic. Some of the common symptoms are displeasure in life or activities.
It also includes the tendency to stay lonely and avoiding interaction with ther persons. This category also has symptoms relating to cognitive ability whereby an individual is unable to remember information Just received. This includes reduced capability of making informed decisions and solving problems (National Institute of Mental Health, 2011). The symptoms are a cause of distress to individuals who find it difficult to handle even the simplest tasks. This makes it hard for the affected individuals to build lasting relationships and develop careers.
In turn, it becomes difficult to maintain a home consequently leading to homelessness. There are many social factors that may lead to becoming or being homeless. Two of the most prominent social factors are poverty and social abuse. Poverty can be as a result of lack of material resources and the unfavorable market condition for housing. This affects the poor who can barely afford to rent a decent house. Most of the homeless are poor and are not well educated to secure well-paying Jobs. Therefore, they are less skilled and survive on the wages whose returns have been on the decline (Quigley Raphael & Smolensky, 2001).
The rising share of income spent on housing osts is unbearable for the majority of the poor. It has become nearly impossible to own or rent a housing unit. This is the reason why most metropolitan areas have continued to experience an increase in homeless families living within the cities. Measures such as availability of shelter beds in certain cities and regulations that criminalize homelessness have not been successful in bringing families and individuals out of the street. Social abuse is another factor that determines if an individual will become homeless.
The most common forms of abuse are physical and exual abuse in childhood. The experience is traumatizing and may lead to major problems such as inability to adjust in all stages of life. There is also increased likelihood of experiencing stress, inability to build lasting relationships, and make good decisions. Furthermore, persons coming from an abusive background are likely to have low self-esteem, which worsens their situation as they become prone to health complications such as going into a depression and substance abuse (Richardson and Bacon, 2003).
Children are worse affected compared to adults when t comes to physical and sexual abuse. In addition, children who witness constant violence are also likely to develop negative ettects that lead to homelessness. T atmosphere of violence becomes a part of their lifestyle as they become used to the incidences. Such exposure makes them develop less fear to otherwise dangerous experiences. This is what has enabled most of the children who grow in the street to get used to the harsh conditions. They tolerate the violence and later become perpetrators of the same.