Homelessness Why Are There 'so Many People Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :


Why are there so many people who are homeless in the state of Chicago? What causes this and what can be done to correct this issue? Is the Federal Government doing anything at all about the homeless people in Chicago, and if so, what are they? What are the policies that have been made by the government in order to tackle this major issue of homelessness where a person is left to live his life on the streets? The circumstances under which a person or a family finds them homeless are many. One of the main causes is that of poverty, which may lead to a lack of monetary resources for appropriate housing, and/or mental illnesses, which may lead a person to remain on the streets without appropriate housing facilities. Another reason for homelessness is that of substance abuse wherein the individual is a user with unaffordable habits and finds it easier to live on the streets. Domestic violence is another major reason for homelessness, and it is mainly the woman in a marriage who finds her living on the street.

In addition to all this, there are some people, who live on the very edge of homelessness, and some more who exist from one paycheck to the other, with extremely low paying jobs that can hardly provide them with adequate housing money. For these individuals, a minor illness or a temporary loss of job will make them cross the fine line and render them homeless. Who are these people? They are people from diverse backgrounds; they are men, women, the young and the old, either in groups or as families, or as individuals. In Chicago, it is quite impossible to get an exact count of the number of homeless, or, for that matter, in any city anywhere in the world. This is because the numbers are in a constant state of change. It is true that shelters and homes for these people do exist, but there is no way to assess numbers from these homes, primarily because of the fact that sometimes. There is duplication in the people that they serve, and sometimes the homeless avail facilities from several different sources, and quite often, some homeless do no ask or avail of any of these services. (Homeless Prevention and Services)

One study does show that about 6,100 people take advantage of the shelters in Chicago on any given day. It is fact that there are about 125 temporary shelters in Chicago and about 6,000 beds in total for the homeless on any day. The Chicago Department of Human Services offers funding for about 125 temporary shelters for the homeless, and it also supports several programs that help the homeless with offers of housing facilities and ensure that they are able to maintain the housing after they are provided to them. Any individual or group just has to pick up the phone and dial 311, and the CDHS will provide them with temporary housing and shelter until the time when hey are ready to move on. The problem here is that different shelters are geared up for different needs. For example, some shelters are in fact geared up to look after single adults, and not families. (Homeless Prevention and Services)

However, because of the increase in the number of homeless families, the City as well as the Continuum is working hard to make sure that families stay together until permanent housing is located for them. Despite all this, there are a large number of people who still sleep on park benches and on the streets. This is because; the ultimate choice of whether or not to take advantage of the shelters that the City is providing them is up to them. There are some people who do not wish to avail of such help, for reasons of their own, and it is these people who remain outside, homeless forever. (Homeless Prevention and Services)

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is an Association that has as its primary goal the prevention and the eventual end of the homelessness of the people of Chicago. This organization reports that in no state of the U.S.A. does a family have a full time minimum wage that would enable them to pay the going market rate for a two-bedroom apartment. In the year 2000, almost 16.8% of full time workers were not able to earn enough to cross over the bottom limit for the poverty level for a family of four people. The findings also revealed that there was an increasing demand for shelters for the homeless in the year 2001, as compared to previous years. (Chicago Coalition for the Homeless)

The Chicago Continuum of Care is a body that is dedicated to providing shelter for the homeless people and families in the state of Chicago. This agency states that it is indeed a complex problem that there are so many homeless people in Chicago, and there is no single simple solution to the problem. However, the only way to do it is to make a good start by addressing the housing problem in Chicago. When this issue is addressed, then resources and other methods of support may be created to ensure that the problem does not recur. While it is not a practical solution to hope to end poverty as such so that there would be no homeless in the state, it is possible to try to end homelessness by combining efforts to deliver the homeless delivery systems with other systems that offer care for the people. Therefore, the organization insists, in this manner it will be possible to deal with the problem if a cross system strategy is adopted, wherein the homeless would be able to avail of the services created especially for them, and also sustain the availability of these services, and ensure that community integration and economic stability would be achieved and maintained by this method. (The Chicago Continuum of Care)

This is in effect a ten-year plan, and if this succeeds, the very system would be changed, and there would be no more homeless on the streets of Chicago. Statistics show that over the past 20 years, the amount of money spent on providing housing and shelter for the homeless has increased, and conversely, so has the number of people who are homeless. The Chicago Continuum of Care, which is a network of over 200 both private and public organizations who are concerned about the homeless people in Chicago, has created this ten-year plan. This organization acknowledges the fact that this is not an easy task, but states that it will put in its best efforts into ensuring that the plan will be a huge success. The need is to mobilize, re-stabilize, and re-deploy, and expand and co-ordinate all the human and financial resources, in an entirely collaborative effort, so that everyone is involved in this gigantic effort. (The Chicago Continuum of Care)

In addition to all these efforts, the Federal Government is also doing its mite to improve conditions and ensure that the homeless in Chicago are provided with temporary shelters as well as with solutions to their permanent housing problems. In the Program entitled PATH that in other words is 'Projects for Assistance for the Transition from Homelessness' is in essence a Federal Grant program that deals with all the several different problems of these unfortunate people who are homeless, and who are suffering from certain serious mental illnesses. PATH funds housing services as well as programs for helping those persons who have a history of substance abuse or of mental illness, and so on. In the year 2003, the program was able to distribute about $41 million towards the grants for several States in the U.S.A., including Chicago, in order to provide homes and shelters for the homeless and the disabled and the mentally disabled individuals who were either homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless because of various reasons. (An Overview of the Program)

The grants were based on a formula: the urban population in the area of jurisdiction in comparison with the total population of the United States of America, which would put the figure at a minimum grant to the amount of $300,000 per year to each state. In order to implement this plan in the best way possible, it was decided to employ about 432 local organizations that would be responsible for providing the services in the best way possible. According to these organizations, more than 77,000 people enrolled for the services and help provided by PATH. The PATH program is generally administered by the Center for mental Health Services, which is a part of the Substance Abuse and the mental Health Services Administration, which in turn is a part of the eight Public Health Service Agencies that form the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (An Overview of the Program)

Among the clients or the persons who in fact avail of these services are these: 61% of the clients…

Cite This Term Paper:

"Homelessness Why Are There 'so Many People" (2004, December 31) Retrieved November 17, 2017, from

"Homelessness Why Are There 'so Many People" 31 December 2004. Web.17 November. 2017. <

"Homelessness Why Are There 'so Many People", 31 December 2004, Accessed.17 November. 2017,