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The homeless problem in California will get worse before it gets better. Our high cost of living doesn’t help homeless people. They often choose the streets, despite the fact that 700 people die from hypothermia every year because of homelessness, according to NPR, Talk of the Nation, and the National Coalition for the Homeless.
Homeless people are often ill with untreated mental illnesses. Paranoia and fear of large groups of people come with living with schizophrenia. The homeless are not always safe in shelters because of drug dealers. Ari Shapiro Interviews David Pirtle. I also had a service project during my senior year with the homeless who were sheltering in a church in my former hometown.
Most homeless people ask for change, but they are not going to use it on anything but alcohol or drugs, some of them. It is why I’ve chosen not to give them my money out in the open. Smaller shelters meet the individual’s needs better. In 2012, foreclosures were to blame for an increase in homelessness. Some even have problems with religious-based shelters that expect people to convert to their religions. Many disabled people are also homeless. The thing is, I’ve decided to start a shelter for people escaping abusive families. Homelessness is another item to escape.
Shelters often do not allow their population to drink or use substances. This rule can be quite a deterrent to those who want to be able to continue their habits if they haven’t decided to quit yet. Deciding to quit a substance or a drug is very hard. It means that the person hit rock bottom with the addiction, and now they have to work their way up. Substance abuse is very difficult to give up because you need more help than you let on.
Shelters also need mental health counselors in order to better help those who need it. All across the country, homelessness is a growing issue, along with salary problems. Working single women do not have enough money to pay rent or get on a subsidized housing list. The working poor do not have the money to make ends meet since they live on low-income. Homelessness can get expensive, as one homeless woman pointed out, 40 years of stagnant wages in the United States are to blame for homelessness. The lack of affordable housing is the biggest cause of homelessness because fewer people buy homes when rental markets tighten.
Affording the $700-a-month rent on $10-an-hour is just as bad as affording the $1,200 rent on $14-an-hour. Long, daily commutes wear people out, along with lack of a living wage, which makes people unable to afford housing. Fast food places like McDonald's will not hire overqualified applicants with at least a Bachelor’s. Renters all over the United States pay 30% of their income in rent. Landlords hardly care about a person with no debt or criminal history, but they care way too much about who was homeless or still is homeless while they look to rent.
Politicians do not expect poor people to vote so they don’t help them. A project called Housing First got more cost-effective to provide housing, even as the homeless drift through shelters, jails, emergency rooms, and the streets. Roommates are cheaper than avoiding homelessness, but there are issues of compatibility at work. Homeless people are very stressed with trying to find work, a place to sleep, or a place to live, period. It is a genuine struggle to afford the rent in the United States, not just in California. This is a problem we need to resolve by providing a fair wage to all.