When you see homeless people on the streets, do you ever wonder where they go at night? The answer is often as varied as the individuals who are living on the fringes of poverty. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, in a single night in January 2015, “564,708 people were experiencing homelessness — meaning they were sleeping outside or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program”. The general rate of those living as homeless is roughly 17.7 people for every 10,000 citizens in the United States. In a country with abundant resources, this number is too high.
Reliance on Friends and Family
A big issue for many people who are homeless is the lack of friends and family with enough resources of their own. Those living in poverty tend to be surrounded by others living in poverty. This means that it’s difficult to rely on family members when they are barely making ends meet on their own. This lack of familial resources creates inter-generational poverty, which is poverty that exists within a family structure that affects all ages. With little support, it’s almost impossible for individuals who are homeless to find their way out.
Homelessness is Not Just a Problem for Individuals
Homelessness does not discriminate. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, “41% of the homeless population is comprised of families.” This means that young children are living on the streets without stable housing. While there are emergency shelters in some areas, those that serve families are always full. It’s almost impossible to find a shelter if you have children, and this can lead to children sleeping in cars, under bridges, and in abandoned buildings with their parents. Also, parents who try to seek services for their family through social services may find that their children end up in the care of the state because of they can’t provide a safe home for the children.
The Downward Spiral of Homelessness
If children are removed from a parent because of homelessness, this only makes the problem worse. A parent may then lose their eligibility for housing, may lose welfare benefits, and can lose SNAP benefits, all because they are no longer responsible for caring for their child. It’s a big pit to get out of, and it’s why many people who are homeless struggle to find a path to a better life. Shelters are only temporary, and securing housing when you have bad credit is almost impossible. With unreasonable waiting lists for Section 8 housing vouchers that can last for years, finding help when you need it is challenging for those living in poverty.
Where do Homeless People Actually Sleep?
Homeless people sleep anywhere they can find a place. Whether it is outside under a bridge, in a tent out in the woods, or on a park bench, homeless people are sleeping anywhere they can find. It’s not safe, and many homeless people are victims of crimes perpetrated while they are trying to get some rest. While some individuals find their way to emergency shelters, there are simply not enough shelters to meet the needs of the homeless population.
With housing prices continuing to rise and an administration that isn’t interested in helping the poor, more people are going to find themselves sleeping on the streets.
To help people in your area who are living in poverty, contact Community Action and Food Bank today at 801-373-8200 to learn more about the programs and services offered in your area to help individuals and families overcome poverty.
- Posted by Community Action
- On March 9, 2017
- 0 Comments