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Did you know that more than half a million people in America are homeless?
That number is alarming in general, but even more so when you realize that the causes behind homelessness are easily solvable. Many people wrongly assume that homelessness is caused due to a person’s own personal failures in life. That couldn’t be further from the truth since there are many other structural problems directly responsible for homelessness in America.
Let’s take a look at how structural inequality causes homelessness.
Poverty and Affordability
The cost of living in America has steadily increased over the past few years. As a result of it, the rate of extreme poverty has also increased. Recent statistics suggest that there are currently around 37 millionpeople living below the poverty line in the US. Extreme poverty is arguably one of the biggest contributors to homelessness. It directly forces people to live on the streets since shelter is now an unaffordable amenity for them. Poor people in the country can no longer afford basic necessities, which is why they resort to life on the streets where rent isn’t a concern.
Another important factor to consider is the stigmatization of homeless people in the US. Homelessness isn’t treated as a sympathetic state anymore. People tend to look down on the homeless and consider them a nuisance to society. The stigmatization is the reason homeless people struggle to find jobs, acquire basic resources, and get back on their feet. Not to mention that a large percentage of homeless Americans are also people of color (namely, African-American and Hispanic people). Racial bias tends to contribute largely to stigmatization as well.
When you look at the inequality of wealth in the country, it becomes clear how it contributes to homelessness. The top 10% of American households and families are currently holding 70-80% of the country’s entire wealth. When income and wealth fail to circulate within the economy, it becomes hoarded by a few. This directly results in poverty, which is a major cause of homelessness. As wealth and income inequality grow in the US, homelessness will continue to grow as well.
Help the Vulnerable More Efficiently
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