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The Causes and Effects of Homelessness

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The Causes and Effects of Homelessness



Kameron Chandler


Kameron Chandler

Kameron Chandler


Kristi Harris, Hard News Editor

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A well-known issue in today’s society is homelessness. You can see it anywhere you go and hear about it through conversations, T.V, radio, etc. There are several causes to homelessness and separate difficulties that they face daily. There are also amazing organizations out there to help people in need. In my opinion, as a society, we take the things we have for granted. We don’t realize that someday, if we aren’t careful, it could all be gone in the blink of an eye. After learning more about what the homeless go through, I think we will be more thankful and less quick to judge.

The causes of homelessness are; poverty, unemployment, lack of affordable housing, poor physical or mental health, addiction, family and relationship breakdown, and violence or abuse. Even though a big majority of homeless people are chronic or episodic, many of them are simply families that have gone through various trials in life, struggling to get back on their feet. It is impossible to know the exact number of homeless people, but research completed by National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) shows that in 2016 there were at least 500,000 individuals in the U.S without a home. However, due to the organizations available, this number has dramatically decreased.

According to HUD’s 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, the population of the chronic homeless, 83,170 individuals, accounted for 15% of all homelessness in 2015. An essential component of successful recovery for them is permanent supportive housing, which is housing coupled with supportive services. With this type of care, they are less likely to end up in a homeless shelter, hospital, or jail cell.

The Road Home is one of the main institutions in Utah that provides an emergency shelter along with case managers who help people overcome the obstacles that led them to living on the street. NAEH is another one that aims to end homelessness and plans to improve the policy that regards homelessness.

The Rescue Mission is a Christian community that also helps the homeless. It runs completely off of volunteer work and donations. Along with providing a place to sleep; they have free clothing, three meals per day, food boxes that are specifically given out to homeless families, and a recovery program to help those with addictions. I had the opportunity to volunteer there myself. As I was serving lunch, I was able to better understand what these people go through.

From my observations, I could tell that many of the individuals receiving help from the mission suffered from a variety of different disabilities. Some of them were picky about what they ate and others chowed down their food like they hadn’t eaten in days. This made me realize how fortunate I am and I was glad that I could be there helping these people. I noticed a man who seemed to go often because the guy in charge knew him by name. His name was Chris and he was an enthusiastically grateful person. Multiple times, he thanked us for serving him and before he left he told us a story about living in the woods for three weeks, almost starving to death. He said, “If it wasn’t for my grandfather teaching me how to make soup, I wouldn’t have survived that. Its days like this where I’m so grateful to have this place and that I’m not back in those woods.”

The Soup Kitchen is a place that serves food for the homeless and others who can’t afford their own. Beverlee Simpson, a volunteer and East High Language Arts teacher, has seen a lot in her 16 years there. She started out going with her daughter to get service hours, but afterwards, continued to go with her husband. There are some people that she sees regularly. One is a man named Daryl who is there almost every month. “He is very friendly and outgoing,” she says, “but also has some emotional problems.” She notices many other people there suffering from substance abuse, health issues, poverty, and being social outcasts. She has also known some families that have made their way to a better place. Once they got into housing it was easier to find a job and from there, they were able to get off the street.

Homelessness is usually the result of the cumulative impact of a number of factors, not just one. There are three different factors, structural factors includes economic and societal issues, individual and relational factors include personal circumstances, and systems failures includes the failure of systems of care and support.

A couple examples of structural factors include, lack of adequate income and access to affordable housing.  As the economy changes, it becomes more challenging for people to earn adequate income and pay for food and housing. Poverty is linked to homelessness and often times, someone who is having severe money issues is just one big impact away from losing their home. Discrimination can also affect access to employment, housing, justice, and help services.

There are some cases where a system failure occurs, causing people in need to be forced onto the streets when they could have been helped. Examples of what happens is, difficult transitions from child welfare, inadequate discharge from the hospital, corrections and mental health and addictions facilities, and lack of support for immigrants and refugees.

Individual and relational factors is particularly a problem for youth and women. They include; traumatic events, personal crisis, and mental health and addiction problems. A big consequence of these is homelessness and possibly suffering from physical or mental health problems. The reason that women are more affected by this specific factor is because if a woman is experiencing violence, she has to choose between being in an abusive relationship or homelessness. Generally she chooses to leave the man, but then, ultimately has nowhere else to go.

Along with the reasons why people ended up on the street, they have many difficulties that they go through every day. A big amount of the challenges they face come from specifically not having a roof over their head. These include; having to carry their belongings wherever they go, not having a place to protect themselves from the weather, and causing them to be a bigger target to violence. Also, due to being in unhygienic conditions, they are more susceptible to diseases. If they catch a more serious illness, there is a higher chance of it being fatal because they don’t have access to the necessary care they need. A more emotional challenge for them is feeling unwanted because of the way they get treated by society.

If more people would take the time to learn about this and understand what they go through, there would be a bigger chance of getting it under control. A big help is volunteering or making donations. Then, there would be further opportunities for the homeless to get help. This could result in abolishing the homeless problem that we have.




Salvation Army

Future in Humanity

End Homelessness


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Kristi Harris, News Editor

Kristi Harris came into the world with a bang on June 11, 2000. This day was supposed to be her brother Sterling’s special day because he was getting...


25 Responses to “The Causes and Effects of Homelessness”

  1. Bailey Willes on March 2nd, 2017 9:10 pm

    This was a great read. I found it very informative and insightful. I definitely believe that empathy and understanding is key to combatting homelessness as a society

  2. Josh Nielsen on March 5th, 2017 7:16 pm

    This is a fantastic article. Personally some of my favorite experiences I have had the opportunity to participate in is helping the homeless. Many of the homeless people are very grateful and compassionate. For example, I went to Pioneer park one sunday morning and fed the Homeless people down there. I don’t think i have ever heard so many please and thank yous. It was a great experience and I hope everyone will help the homeless people around us.

  3. Fatima Vazquez on March 6th, 2017 12:48 pm

    I really loved this article. Loved how you sounded so compassionate to write this article. I also like how there’s a lot of information in it as well.

  4. Tieni on March 6th, 2017 1:13 pm

    I learned that some causes of poverty can be from unemployment, or the lack of money for health and home. Many of these factors of homelessness can lead to family break downs or poor physical and mental health.

  5. Scott wilson on March 6th, 2017 1:16 pm

    This was a really great article to read. I was for fortunate enough to help at a shelter just outside of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on Christmas eve and they were the most grateful, and kind people I have ever met. I am so happy to have listened and talked to some of the pepole I helped down there because it really humbled my sister and I. I urge everyone to help in anyway they can!

  6. Ashley Vargas on March 6th, 2017 1:17 pm

    I liked how well the article was organized. Everything said was backed up by a fact and that made this all the more interesting to read.

  7. Stephen Liddle on March 6th, 2017 4:16 pm

    This article was very well built and very insightful. I learned a lot, mainly that homelessness can lead to destruction of a family and also leads to deterioration of a persons mental and physical health. I have seen some of these factors through first hand experience. For the past year i have been going downtown in the homeless shelter every other Saturday to play with the children of the homeless families. i wish homelessness wasn’t a thing.

  8. Kodiak Pereira on March 6th, 2017 6:12 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article. It gave some great information and facts about the homeless people here in Salt Lake. It also explained how a lot of those people become homelesss which is not something that i knew before.

  9. sabrine hassen on March 6th, 2017 6:37 pm

    Great essay, everything had evidence to back up her statements. I strongly agree with the fact that people take everything for granted because they think they got it good. We really do need to open our eyes and realize not everything is for ever and to really spend as much time as possible with our loved ones and be less judgmental..

  10. Nunia Latu on March 6th, 2017 9:20 pm

    This is really a great article. This article really opens our eyes on what we can do as a community to help these people, whether it’s the little things we do.

  11. Jojo Sime on March 6th, 2017 9:21 pm

    I learned about other problems the homeless run into is not only from bad decisions they’ve made in their life but their relationships with their loved ones. I would never guess that a relative would kick another relative out in the streets.

  12. Dyllan Recinos on March 6th, 2017 10:21 pm

    You did a great job with this article. I have done community service before where we feed the homeless. Iit has been such a great experience hearing all the thank yous you get. They are such kind and grateful people.

  13. Lupita estrada on March 6th, 2017 10:30 pm

    Great article, i liked how she had all these explanations about the homeless. We can all can make a difference if we helped out, I’ve personally done volunteering to make & give out food to the homeless. Such a great experience.

  14. Ayden Armstrong on March 7th, 2017 12:00 am

    I really enjoyed reading this article. I think that it was interesting and was well written. Homelessness is a serious issue that we need to do more to help with. People are in awful conditions and situations, and people need to become more aware of this. Just reading this article has made me more thankful for what I have and made me want to go out and help others more.

  15. Maritza Ramos on March 8th, 2017 8:27 am

    This article was very interesting. The fact that many people think homeless people become homeless in the first place due to addictions is not true. Their are many other reasons that people can become homeless. Homelessness is a serious issue in Salt Lake and I am glad more people are taking action about this situation.

  16. Alyssa Aguila A 1/2 on March 8th, 2017 8:31 pm

    This article not only opened a bigger picture of the community caring for the homeless but, explains the obstacles and hardships through out there life. I strongly support the specific institutions mentioned, “Road Home”, “NAEH”, “Soup Kitchen”, and “The Rescue Mission”. Through out the many different barriers each individual institution has helped the homeless overpower there obstacles. I am able to come aboard with this article because of my own personal experiences volunteering and donating to the homeless. My dad and I are trying to start “Little Caesar’s Saturday” a volunteer project that helps feed many homeless. The last time we gathered enough money donated to buy 34 pizzas. The experience was not only eye-opening but made me realize so much of the person of whom I am and to whom I want become in the future.

  17. Davis Wright on March 8th, 2017 9:45 pm

    This article was very interesting. It provided good information about the causes and effects of homelessness.

  18. Nick Budd on March 18th, 2017 11:18 pm

    I learned a lot, just by reading that article. The article really make you think about life and how privileged I am. Thinking about how privileged I am really motivates me to make a difference. I’ll see if I ca help the homeless within the next month.

  19. Nickolas Budd on March 18th, 2017 11:18 pm

    I learned a lot, just by reading that article. The article really make you think about life and how privileged I am. Thinking about how privileged I am really motivates me to make a difference. I’ll see if I ca help the homeless within the next month.

  20. Buddy McClelland on March 22nd, 2017 5:04 pm

    After working in a fast food restaurant downtown for about a year I was able to see and meet a lot of homeless people. Most of which had the same stories which included substances like drugs and alcohol. Also with just walking around the area I’ve also spoken to one or two of them. Some wish it had never happened or are two drunk or high to carry a conversation. But I’m glad that things have been made to help this topic because it is over looked more than it should

  21. Ayden Armstrong on May 23rd, 2017 2:05 pm

    I thought that this was a really good article that really explained the causes and effects of homelessness. It was able to make me really think about my life and how privileged I am.

  22. Kat Hicks on May 24th, 2017 1:48 pm

    I really enjoyed this article. Not only did it give information to a serious topic in our own state. But it also gives information to causes and effects of homelessness. Thank you for the insight!

  23. Alberto Carrillo on May 24th, 2017 2:11 pm

    This Article informed me on homelessness, it had info on what the causes are on homelessness. I Really like it had insight information.

  24. Nestor Mendoza on May 25th, 2017 8:34 am

    This is such a great article .!! I enjoyed reading it and yes homelessness is very sad. I had an uncle who has homeless for a while and it just broke my heart. We can help out by giving them food or drinks and blankets to survive. We should be the change.!! we will be the change !

  25. Abram Villegas on May 25th, 2017 8:43 am

    Very well written article. Really sad how some people are at that point of not having a place to call home. I see homeless people come in to my job at a fast food and sometimes they ask if they can have anything free and sadly I have to say no. One time I did though.. shhhh don’t say anything.

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