Prelude To…

Posted: October 18, 2007 in Homelessness

This is Part I in a multipart series on "How" a person finds themselves becoming homeless.

American’s are notorious for living beyond their means.

Between 20% and 22% percent of all American’s are living paycheck to paycheck. This past September there were roughly 225,000 foreclosures filed against people’s homes – twice the number of September of 2006. The vast majority of American’s find themselves with excessive debts. The cost of living is on the rise in every area: housing, goods and services, health care, etcetera. The unemployment rate is rising. The economy is near recession. Subsequently, more and more American’s will find themselves experiencing homelessness.  

The one commonality that every homeless person shares is that at one time or another in their life they had a place to live.

There are numerous reasons "why" a person finds themselves homeless: loss of employment, health emergencies that leave a person with mounting medical bills, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, gambling addictions, and the list goes on.

Some – although it seems peculiar to me – actually choose to be homeless.

Approximately 50% of all homeless women are so because they have relationships filled with domestic violence and are unable to afford a place to live.

Many of America’s homeless have mental health disabilities and are not capable of caring for themselves.

Regardless of the "why" a person finds themselves homeless, in the end, it comes down to money: a lack of adequate finances to acquire and/or maintain housing.

Homelessness doesn’t happen overnight. There are a series of events or circumstances which occur that ultimately cause a person to become homeless. Quite often a person doesn’t recognize that they’ve reached that turning point and will find themselves homeless, until it is far too late.

For those who are able to recognize the turning point, there is the constant struggle to change or postpone the downward spiral – or at the very least, lesson the effects.

But why a person becomes homeless is different than how they become homeless.

Although homelessness itself is an economic and physical situation, there are many psychological and emotional changes that will occur once a person has indeed become homeless. There a few who experience homelessness who do so unscathed.

Saddest of all: there those who, once they become homeless, will never be able to escape its chains. They will be condemned to living their lives on the fringes of society as outcasts. They will be viewed with scorn, disdain and suspicion. And, eventually, they will die alone and nameless.

Yet, all of this doesn’t answer the question: "How does a person become homeless?"


"Disorientation Day"


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