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What Do “We” Share With Homeless People?

by | Dec 10, 2020 | Formation, Homelessness, Reflections

What do “we” share with homeless people?

Truth Talk: (Courtesy of Invisible People)

  • 84% of Homeless People Do NOT Struggle with Chronic Mental Illness
  • Mental Illness Is Not the Leading Cause of Homelessness in America – It Doesn’t Even Account for the Top 3 Causes
  • Only about 16% of the entire homeless population even struggles with a severe/chronic mental illness. Of this group, many of them became homeless for other reasons initially and in some cases the mental illness was caused by this collapse of their life structure (i.e. homelessness).

Mental illness is a major problem for the entire US population – not just the homeless population.

There’s no denying the fact that 16% of the homeless population struggles with severe mental health conditions.

However, we must also remember that the entire US population (homeless or not) faces this same struggle. In fact, when you take into account everyone in the United States of America, you find that one in five, or 20% of people in this region of the globe suffers from a mental health issues that is categorized as moderate to severe.

When you look at this from a purely mathematical perspective you find that approximately 84% of the homeless population does not suffer from severe or chronic mental illness while that number for the general population is only 80%. Herein lies a glaring hole in a long-pushed narrative.

For this reason, it’s impossible to blame mental illness for homelessness when plenty of people who are not homeless have the same plight.

The Difference: Homelessness Worsens  and Creates Mental Health Problems

Studies have shown that homelessness causes people to develop mental health issues due to all of the following psychological strains:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Social isolation
  • Fear for personal safety
  • Lack of security
  • Loss of belongings
  • Enduring violent hate crimes including rape, mutilation, and assault
  • Lack of structure and routine
  • Lack of sanitation options
  • Losing family
  • Losing friends
  • Exposure to extreme weather and pollution
  • Losing one’s place in society

Let’s focus on causes not stereotypes

Firstly, the leading causes of homelessness in America continue to be 1) lack of affordable housing followed by 2) poverty.

These two matters account for the overwhelming majority of homeless cases. Poverty, which is the second leading cause of homelessness, can be further expanded upon because the term itself is so general. Poverty accounts for all of the following and more:

  • Unemployment
  • Underemployment
  • Hourly wage stagnation
  • Less availability of public assistance

With this being the case, it could just as easily be said that the top five causes of homelessness are:

  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Unemployment
  • Underemployment
  • Hourly wage stagnation
  • Less availability of public assistance

Whether you choose to list the general term of poverty as number two or you make it more specific doesn’t matter much because in the end the next leading cause of homelessness still isn’t mental illness. It’s actually lack of affordable health care.

  • Unemployment
  • Underemployment
  • Hourly wage stagnation
  • Less availability of public assistance

With this being the case, it could just as easily be said that the top five causes of homelessness are:

  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Unemployment
  • Underemployment
  • Hourly wage stagnation
  • Less availability of public assistance

Whether you choose to list the general term of poverty as number two or you make it more specific doesn’t matter much because in the end the next leading cause of homelessness still isn’t mental illness. It’s actually lack of affordable health care.

Homelessness is a problem we can solve if we are honest with ourselves about its true causes.

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