Homelessness is a prime concern of some major policies. Broad range of definitions has been used to classify the people in homeless category under relative categorization of poverty. Change in classification criteria has increased the number of people who are viewed as homeless. This requires reassessment of criteria to define the people who need to be viewed in homelessness category. Homeless people are classified based on the access to proper housing, low-cost housing construction policies, and the quantity of funds given to them (Borchard, Kurt, 2005).
To classify people under these factorial dimensions is a divisive task. All sociologists agree that homelessness is a social problem in need of a remedy. Assessment on the basis of these dimensions does not define clear path of resources allocation, funding, and services to be given to control problem (Borchard, Kurt, 2005). Homelessness has existed in various forms for centuries, as have general tensions between homeless people and the rest of society.
In the late 1800s formerly transient workers from the railroad and lumber industries settled into U. S. cities as those labor sectors shrank. This trend caused reaction from local residents and city governments in the form of “ugly laws” meant to manage the problem of vagrancy. Still, the number of homeless people, particularly those living on the street, remained relatively low through the 1960s (Borchard, Kurt, 2005). In the mid-1970s homelessness began to increase as inflation raised, real-dollar wages began to decline, and manufacturing jobs disappeared at an alarming rate.
In the 1980s federal funding cuts for low-income housing caused a decline in single-room occupancies and exacerbated the growing problem of homelessness. While in earlier periods homelessness was often connected to migratory employment, economic shifts, particularly in the 1970s, signaled the rise of homelessness connected to static unemployment (Borchard, Kurt, 2005). Homelessness is a serious problem in US that requires considerable attention at state and at national level.
Considerable measures have been taken by government in past few decades to control the homelessness as dramatic increase has been observed in the homelessness condition (Borchard, Kurt, 2005). This paper examines the homelessness in perspective of self-reliance and resilience approach that is shown by people to manage themselves in difficult situations instead of relying on external forces. This paper addresses the homelessness in context of ‘universalistic’ welfare system.
The aim is to demonstrate the inherent dimensions of the personal reliance and how it is influenced by the policies and practices of homeless people. Specifically, focus is placed on the role of the self-reliance and resilience in homelessness context (Borchard, Kurt, 2005). Homelessness, gentrification, and the displacement of the urban poor have become major issues in public policy debates over the last decade. Homelessness is a crucial social problem skeptical to the role of state and their concern towards public welfare.
It is often viewed as result of interwoven systemic and personal problems (Borchard, Kurt, 2005). Government bodies suggest that the main cause of increasing homelessness among its citizen is the increasing gap between income level and housing costs. U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development stated that country is now passing through worst-case housing needs period at an all-time high rate. However, few public and private agencies see reductions in chronic homelessness conditions prevailing across country.
Homelessness is increasing in families having large family size and considerable low income below poverty threshold. This family segment is the rapidly increasing segment of homeless population. Homelessness is not an inherent concept; different factors contribute towards to the increasing homelessness issues (Borchard, Kurt, 2005). Because of the above mentioned issues related to homelessness, it was important for the government to implement some kind of a policy in order to prevent homelessness of individuals and to provide homeless individuals with residence.
This was important as having a huge number of homeless individuals can become a serious concern for a country. Therefore, in order to deal with this issue of homelessness of individuals, the authorities came up with the homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing policy (Casey, 2009). The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program will provide financial assistance and services to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless and help those who are experiencing homelessness to be quickly re-housed and stabilized.
The funds under this program are intended to target individuals and families who would be homeless but for this assistance. The funds will provide for a variety of assistance, including: short-term or medium-term rental assistance and housing relocation and stabilization services, including such activities as mediation, credit counseling, security or utility deposits, utility payments, moving cost assistance, and case management. At least 60 percent of funds must be spent within two years; all funds must be spent within three years.
Reporting requirements will be presented in the forthcoming notice (Casey, 2009). The Homeless Prevention & Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP) is one of the programs that resulted from the 2009 Stimulus Act, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In this program, funds will be directed toward: - Homelessness prevention. - Diversion (finding alternative housing as soon as people become homeless, so they do not need to spend the night in a homeless shelter). - Rapid re-housing for people who are currently homeless (Casey, 2009).
Organizations across the state will provide case management and outreach to homeless people and those at imminent risk of homelessness, and will provide flexible financial assistance to enable households to become or remain housed. This flexible financial assistance could be provided in the form of rental assistance (including back rent for months where the household has been unable to pay), utility deposits, security deposits, and/or moving costs. By federal regulation, the funds must be used for housing-related expenses (not related to other services like medical expenses), and cannot be used for foreclosure prevention (Casey, 2009).
Discussion Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re- housing Policy Over 1. 5 million Americans are homeless each year. Homelessness is associated with a higher risk of many poor health conditions and outcomes, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis C, dermatological diseases, mental illness, substance abuse, and overall mortality. Chronically or long-term homeless individuals are typically defined as unaccompanied homeless persons who have experienced continuous homelessness for more than 1 year or have had at least 4 episodes of homelessness in the previous 3 years (Donahoe, 2009).
High rates of substance abuse and mental illness, poor employment histories, and a lack of social support are among the more commonly proposed factors contributing to these difficulties. Supportive housing programs focus on providing housing along with social services and case management for homeless individuals. These programs have been shown to increase residential stability and decrease other societal costs associated with homelessness such as emergency department visits and hospital stays, corrections department utilization, and emergency shelter use (Donahoe, 2009).
Housing First programs, 1 type of supportive housing, provides homeless persons with permanent housing without requiring participants to remain drug free or sober (Donahoe, 2009). Because of the high percentage of substance abuse in chronically homeless populations, Housing First programs may be an important intervention for this group. In this pilot study, we examined the relationship between enrollment in a new Housing First program and subsequent housing stability, use of social and healthcare services, and criminal citations in a chronically homeless population.
Popular conceptions of street homeless people cast them as the most dysfunctional subset of a generally dysfunctional group. Certainly the most visible of those on the street may have the pathologies popularly attached to homelessness itself. In particular, homeless people with severe mental illnesses are commonly the most visible. But those who have studied homelessness know that the average homeless person, even when living on the street, does not match that profile.
Rather, those on the street build quite sophisticated communities, both in terms of material infrastructure and social relationships (Donahoe, 2009). In the negative spaces of the city landscape, street homeless individuals build their own homes and establish community with explicit rules and limitations on who is allowed to live there and even to visit (Donald, Kenneth, 2008). Informal hierarchies, based on personality and seniority, govern these camp communities, and particular people connect them by moving from one camp to another.
As the residential population of city centers in the United States declined in the postwar period, the homeless people who remained downtown naturally became less visible. Of course, we all see the eccentric people who look decidedly like the homeless image so many people hold. These individuals sometimes force themselves into our sight, but are ultimately a very small proportion of those who are homeless. Such “tragic caricatures of homelessness” are not representative of the thousands of homeless people who are not so eccentric and therefore go unnoticed.
Their invisibility is a function of the “architecture of citizenship,” the physical and social engineering of environments that mitigates their recognition (Donald, Kenneth, 2008). In some ways, remaining relatively hidden is advantageous to both homeless people and the larger society. Most members of our society do not want to see the homeless and often the homeless do not want to be seen. But the limits of urban space and economic patterns of gentrification increasingly violate that postwar symbiosis.
As the upper and middle classes repopulate urban areas and reclaim spaces for socially legitimate uses of exchange and political value, they increasingly uproot and scatter street homeless communities. Attending to upper and middle class residents as they return downtown, local merchants and governments focus on aesthetic presentation as a component of improving the quality of life for residents. Americans often contrast aesthetic value to urban living, which traditionally they see, almost by definition, as a dirty, crowded, unhealthy, existence, stark at best and miserably ugly at worst.
The city governments frequently target the homeless themselves for “cleaning up” as the process of urban renewal unfolds (Donald, Kenneth, 2008). Social changes in living patterns often produce conflicts within and between communities. “Not-in-my-backyard” (NIMBY) battles over the homeless have become increasingly common as the influx of comfortably housed residents generates conflicts that affect homeless communities. Regulating community membership and striving for an expansive private sphere are not exclusively the ambitions of the middle and upper classes (Donald, Kenneth, 2008).
Ironically, at the same time that gentrification uprooted and excluded street homeless communities, they engage in exclusionary practices of their own as they try to build and sustain community. Some scholars have examined the community building practices of those on the street and the effects of gentrification on poor and homeless people. However, their research has typically focused on the largest metropolitan areas. Many second-tier industrial cities experienced suburbanization to a more complete degree, resulting in city centers that became almost entirely vacant (Donald, Kenneth, 2008).
Homelessness is described as a situation in which person not only feels the state of absence from basic needs but also faces certain hardships in terms of confronting society, and managing himself. It is related to money problems, eviction, or other loss of accommodation. These factors are significant to the core value of individual who focus on self-reliance principle to manage themselves to come out of homelessness situation instead of relying on others to provide help. Such people display personal control over their lives. They try look for ways that can enable them to come out of situation of homelessness (Duffield, Barbara, et al, 2008).
First of self-reliant people focus on monetary resources or possibilities that generate a source of income for them, either in addition to the normal level, to having sufficient money required to purchase or rent a house for him and his family. Barriers to self-reliance are often inherent to the situation sensitivity. If a person does not have emotional stability, he is not in a position to address the demanding situation to the fullest. Homelessness is a situation that demands a great deal of effort by the person towards being resilient.
It may create depression, stress and other health related problem in some contexts if person takes high burden on him to get out of the situation of being homeless (Duffield, Barbara, et al, 2008). However, whether people help or not but their pessimistic views may negatively reinforce self-resilient behavior in a person that affect his motivation and courage level. In the United States there are approximately 1. 2 million youths alone who are classified as homeless, when compared with the 100 million globally that does not seem to be an astounding number.
Homelessness does not discriminate based on race, color, age, sex or religion. It is known that one-half of the homeless population is families with children. This is the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population. Many are physically or mentally disabled and have nowhere to turn for support. Men, women, children, the handicapped, Veterans, are all in the homeless category. An unacknowledged fact is that 20% of the homeless are actually employed either full time or part-time (Duffield, Barbara, et al, 2008). Health Concerns major health concern for homeless youth is the risk of HIV infections.
This is a growing problem. The rate of infection is higher among homeless youth that that of the national rate for youths. One of the reasons this is true relates to the risky behaviors homeless youths engage in such as high rates of drug abuse. Homeless youths also have a higher risk of mental health problems, school dropout and criminal records. The effect on women who are homeless is equally staggering. Donahoe reported the following information regarding the condition of homeless women in a recent article on homelessness in the United States.
Some believe that part of the solution is to make the public aware of the problem, put a face to the faceless homeless person (Duffield, Barbara, et al, 2008). Last month an art exhibit opened called "Hobos to Street People: Artists' Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to the Present. " The art show displays paintings and photographs along with other art forms documenting homelessness. The point of the show is to show how the government expressed concern for the homeless problem in the 1930’s, yet since the 1970’s homelessness in the United States has been all but forgotten.
What the presenter, Hazelwood found most striking was the difficulty had trying to distinguish the decade the pieces represented. The solution seems to evade government and individuals alike. Many cities are looking for individual solutions for their homeless problems. Several cities are trying to create temporary housing situations that allow the homeless person a chance to start over. St. Louis is an example of such a city plan (Duffield, Barbara, et al, 2008). In an effort to reduce homelessness in the next 10-years the city is creating permanent housing first then helping with medical and job training.
The plans include several different locations around the region and financial help is coming in from many different sources. A recent award of 11. 1 million in federal funds will help create permanent housing for 1,300 people. Even with complaints about the number of homeless in the city, residents in areas where the special housing has been planned are complaining that it devalues their property. They want the problem resolved but with no cost or hardship to themselves (Duffield, Barbara, et al, 2008). Homelessness is not caused due to a set of factors related to financial matters and economic conditions only.
A series of factors adjoins the basis of creating homelessness. Since the subjective thesis of this paper is to examine the homelessness and role of self-reliance, therefore, it is necessary to examine the causes which are directly related to person forming the causes of homelessness. These personal factors may either relate to individual, family, and an institutional background (Mcfee, 2009). Many people make themselves involve in socially destructive practices that not only affect the social life of a person but also creates many problems related to the individual and his personal life.
These factors include absence of qualifications, drug and alcohol misuse, debt condition of a person, relationship status, and lack of social support, deprived mental and physical health, and involvement in criminal activities. Family disputes and breakdown also affect the capacity of a person to mange himself in stern situations. Excessive physical and sexual abuse during childhood or adolescent age, open culture towards drugs and alcohol in family, and past exposition to homelessness condition (Mcfee, 2009).
Contrasting to above stated causes, structural causes of homelessness are economic and social in nature, and are mostly external to the control of the individual that create significant changes in one’s life in relation to creating homelessness situation. These causes include poverty, unemployment, housing policies, lack of affordable housing, absence of affordable housing schemes, administration of housing benefits for mid-range people, and constructive policy developments for people rehabilitation in case if they encounter some natural disasters.
Long-term policy structure is required to address the homelessness which might include construction of more affordable homes, changes in the housing benefit system, and redefining the benefits for society based on economic growth such as reduced interest rates for home financing (Mcfee, 2009). Self-reliance or personal reliance is defined as an individually-determined pathway which consisted of different number of components and dimensions. Self-reliance portrays the emotional and subjective experiences of an individual that are defined in terms confidence, beliefs, goals, and acceptance of assistance, challenges, and resilience.
It is followed by a sense of control and security. It relates to personal safety and stability including knowledge of a person in terms of problem-solving ability, life skills, and access to resources and supports (Mcfee, 2009). These dimensions of self-reliance are related to the person in context of homelessness. Behavior of a person and approach to handle difficulties in life based on the belief that he has abilities to manage himself in every difficult situation. It defines the abilities and willingness of a person to assume responsibilities, coping and rejection of substance use.
It also portrays the status and resolution of structural barriers to independence. Self-reliance enables the person to have access and adequacy of services and supports including capacity and social connectedness that may support him in needy situations. This relation is expressed in terms of dealing with relationship issues and approaching stability situation, and coordinating with wider social networks. Self-reliance of a person emphasize on the pathways to recovery in an implicit manner that is likely to be context-driven and discontinuous (Mckitrick, 2006).
Self-reliance is related to the principle approach of independence. In terms of social policy, it is interpreted as being free of reliance on public or other welfare services. Level of independence seems to be obsolete in situations when a person lacks enough resources to fulfill even his basic needs. Homelessness is also described as a situation in which person is ultimately dependent on other people or entities (either government or public organizations) for support and provision of shelter.
However, it has been observed that few people are able to live fully independent of others regardless of difficulties they experience in homelessness circumstances. Dimensions of self-reliance identified for homeless people involving relationships with other people, connectedness, access to appropriate services/support, and knowledge defines the self-reliance capability of people to manage them and their dependents (Mckitrick, 2006). Another significant term that is coined with self-reliance is resilience. This defines the ability of a person to cope with difficulties at times of crisis (Woolhouse, Megan, 2007).
A person who is experiencing homelessness situation for a persistent long period of time, or has moved into such state from a reputable life seems to display resilience and self-reliance which can feature alienation and isolation state during homelessness situation (Moore, 2010). Self-reliance is not something for which person take special training to learn how to manage himself and his dependents in difficult situations, but it is built intrinsically based on the response and behavior of others with limited support rather than as a capacity gained by establishing connections with others.
Self-reliance ability is therefore more evident in young homeless people, who often survive by becoming over-reliant on their own resources or as ‘street smart’. This can be to extent of being anomic and isolating (Moore, 2010). The problem cannot be solved by one person, one city or even one government. It is a worldwide problem that is having a global impact, over 100 million youths are considered homeless in the world and 1. 2 million of those are in the United States (Woolhouse, Megan, 2007). Living in the streets does not provide an education that allows for a future off of the street.
It is a vicious circle that seems to have no solution. Endless talk of what causes the problem or how to define the problem creates no solutions. Health care and homes need to be provided to end the problem that means each individual needs to look into the face of the faceless homeless person as if it were a mirror. In today’s economy the homeless person could be you and your family (Nevius, 2007). US government has introduced special programs for people who are experiencing homelessness situation, but have capabilities to stand on their own feet.
This financial reward will be given by Department of Housing and Urban Development by assessing the potential of people while not affecting their self-resilient behavior (Nevius, 2007). In addition to that, private agencies have created enormous low scale jobs for people who are homeless. This on one hand not only enables the private companies to keep their cost of production low but also provides opportunity to homeless people to use their skills and abilities, instead of seeking support from others in difficult situations (Nevius, 2007).
The government of United States also introduced a policy called, The Homlessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Policy, which aims to prevent individuals from getting homeless, and also to provide shelter to those individuals who are already homeless (Nevius, 2007). The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing (HPRP) Program has prevented or ended homelessness for one million Americans since its inception in 2009, announced U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan at a U. S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) meeting on Tuesday (Umble, 2008).
As a new program created and funded specifically through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, HPRP provided $1. 5 billion to local communities to keep families in their homes or help them find other affordable housing after a sudden financial crisis which might have otherwise led to homelessness. HPRP grants offer communities a resource to provide short- and medium-term rental assistance and services to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless or to quickly re-house those who are experiencing homelessness (Nevius, 2007).
According to the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH), HPRP has served 8,413 people in Connecticut since its inception. 6,275 people received homelessness prevention services and 2. 210 received rapid re-housing services. “At a time when so many families were at the brink of homelessness due to the economic crisis, HPRP was able to step in and provide the assistance needed to keep families safe and off the streets,” said Secretary Donovan. “I am proud to announce this historic milestone and to continue to work on strategies with my partners within the U.
S. Interagency Council on Homelessness to end homelessness for all Americans” (Nevius, 2007). Homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing will be eligible and encouraged uses of McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants when new regulations take effect, as established by the HEARTH Act (Nieto, Gittelman, et al, 2008). The HEARTH Act is intended to streamline McKinney-Vento and make it easier for communities to use, implement better data tracking and analysis, and include the HPRP-type functions.
Funding for McKinney-Vento is uncertain, so replacing the drying up HPRP stimulus funds with added McKinney funds may prove difficult. The National Alliance to End Homeless (NAEH) reports that $2. 4 billion for the program is necessary to fully implement new measures driven by HEARTH; the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) approved $1. 901 Billion. The spending bill must still be considered by the Senate and President Obama (Nieto, Gittelman, et al, 2008).