The key definition of the homelessness has been quite skeptical, with a lot of discrepancies and varied number of ideologies, ascribed to categories used in classifying the homeless, and aspects that contribute to homelessness. According to Ravenhill (2008), homelessness can be defined as the settling of families in precarious housing or temporary accommodation, with an exception of single men who are depicted as rough sleepers. In tandem to this, there a plethora facets that cause homelessness, and they comprise of; personal factors, natural disaster, social factors and downturn of the economy (Larkin, 2009). The homeless population is composed of different people, and it has been characterized with the demand and need of a variety of human services. The standards of living are pathetic with frequent disease outbreaks and health problems. The attitude and the perception of the society have been changing ascribed to the increased detachment of homeless people from traditional and social roles in the society (Ambrosino, Heffernan, Shuttlesworth & Ambrosino, 2012).
In light with this, the rapid increase in cases of homelessness during the 1980s was the uttermost factor that paved the way to public awareness about the problem, and consequently it instigated the passage of the Stewart Homeless Assistance Act (Lundy &Janes, 2009). The act was designed to issue resources and services to address the problem of homelessness. Further, street cleanliness and increased rates of insecurity and crime also propagated the awareness of homelessness, since it was a contributing factor to the changing trend, and hence, it was mandatory, to clean up the streets in order, to achieve an apprehensive society.
Multiple health problems are the core epicenter of the challenges faced by the homeless population. This is largely attributed, to poor hygiene, overcrowding, lack of shelter and the wide spread of contagious diseases (Lundy &Janes, 2009). The health problems are classified into different categories, and they encompass; skin, and traumatic disorders, with health problems that include; skin infestations, and ulcerations, wounds, burns, bruises, and sprains. In addition to this, acute disorders, which comprise of diseases like pneumonia, tuberculosis, influenza, asthma, bladder and renal infections, genitourinary infections, are also health problems (Lundy &Janes, 2009). Further, chronic diseases, for instance psychosocial disorders, and mental illness are also significant classification of health problems. Other challenges include poverty, poor social well fare, abandonment, and social seclusion from the society (Ambrosino et al, 2012).
Consequently, the challenges faced by the homeless population are the indispensable derivatives that aid in the description and elaboration of the needs of the homeless population. The essential human services needs constitute the desire for a better shelter and quality accommodation, inclusive of all the basic human wants (Larkin, 2009). In conjunction to this, access to better and reliable health facilities is also a crucial need to the homeless population. Other public facilities such as toilets, transport, insurance and social security are also equally valuable requisitions.
In an attempt to address the cardinal factors that cause homelessness, and to assist in the issuance of the basic needs for the homeless population, several Human Services support are set up to enhance the process. Similarly, the government, through a number of agencies, has also responded by providing financial aid (Burt et al, 2010). The most essential human service supports put in place encompass an easy access to the mainstream services and benefits, which consists of health services such as community health centers, and mobile clinics, temporary assistance for needy families, and child welfare (Burt et al, 2010). In line with this, supplemental security income, supplement food programs, and housing programs are also established to alleviate the homeless population (Burt et al, 2010). Besides, more human services support, like social counseling, therapeutic communities and outreach programs, should be effectuated to offer assistance to the homeless population, through encouraging them to fit in the society and access all the statutory services and benefits, similar to other citizens. Mediation services can also be provided to prevent relationship breakdown in the society (Larkin, 2009).
Conventionally, the homeless have been viewed as aliens in the society, and Ravenhill (2008), affirms that the homeless are viewed as deviants, and from a functionalists deviance perspective, they are depicted as a great threat to society. They are seen as criminals, lazy, poor people and human beings with contagious diseases. Similarly, they are widely rejected, and they face a lot of intimidation and insults from the society at large (Ravenhill, 2008). The formed negative attitude against the homeless is a clear indication of lack of humanity, and in order to correct this, human services professionals are faced with varied number of duties. Lundy and Janes (2009), attest that the professionals should be committed to changing the life style of the homeless, through the use of the available resources, and funds from the government. Further, they should foster appropriate communication, trust, and be an advocate in providing the essential statutory services to the homeless. Moreover, they should assess causes and problems associated with homelessness, use leadership skills effectively, plan and give better care to the population (Lundy & Janes, 2009).
In a nutshell, homelessness is a critical issue in the current society, as it affects, social, economical and political welfare of a nation. Furthermore, the causes of homelessness are common facets in the environment, which can be avoided or dealt with, to avoid the emergence of such population. Thence, it is extremely beneficial for the government, human services professionals, and society, to provide the basic needs for the homeless, and assist them to move out of the streets, and gain the affiliative bond for healthy social life.
Ambrosino, R., Heffernan, J., Shuttlesworth, G. & Ambrosino, R. (2012). Social Work and Social Welfare: An Introduction (7th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Burt, M., Hall, G. S., Henderson, A. K., Rog, J. D., Hornik, A. J., Denton, V. A. & Moran, E. G. (2010). Strategies for Improving Homeless People’s Access to Mainstream Benefits and Services. Darby, PA: DIANE Publishing.
Larkin, M. (2009). Vulnerable Groups in Health and Social Care. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Lundy, S. K. & Janes, S. (2009). Community Health Nursing: Caring For the Public’s Health (2nd Ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, LLC.
Ravenhill, M. (2008). The Culture of Homelessness. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Limited.