Homelessness is a serious problem that exists in all countries and most communities in the world.
It is one of the biggest social problems that the world faces in the 21st century and impacts millions of people across the globe each year.
In 2019, it was estimated that about 2% of the world’s population was homeless.
While 2% doesn’t sound like much, it amounts to nearly 154 million people who are living on the street, at refugee camps, or in other transitory and often dangerous conditions.
On top of that, another billion people currently live without adequate shelter. And this number is expected to climb to nearly three billion by 2050.
In 2020, the number of people who were seeking emergency accommodation soared even higher due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Any people already living with financial pressures made worse by the coronavirus pandemic, have been pushed over the brink into homelessness and are finding themselves sleeping on the streets, hunkered down in sheds and garages, stuck in unsuitable accommodation, or couch surfing.
In reality, it’s likely that the number of homeless people around the world is even higher than the data suggests, as homelessness statistics are incredibly difficult to come by. The lack of accurate information, especially from developing nations, presents a serious roadblock in the search for solutions. The core cause of homelessness is poverty. Stagnant wages, unemployment, high housing and healthcare costs all play into poverty. Being unable to afford essentials like housing, food, and education greatly increases a person’s or family’s risk of becoming homeless.
Another main reason of homelessness is lack of education or training for homeless people themselves.
Education is the most important requirement for everybody to get a fit job ensuring a dignified life. Without education, people (especially children) will not have the opportunity to acquire important life skills. As such, they’ll have a higher chance of becoming homeless.
Another cause for homelessness is addiction. Studies have found repeatedly that drug use is more prevalent among homeless people, and the vast majority of homeless people use drugs and alcohol.
Among the most vulnerable and underprivileged groups in society, are the homeless people who are suffering from drug and alcohol addiction as well as mental disorders.
Some people are more at risk of being pushed into homelessness than others. People in low paid jobs, living in poverty and poor quality or insecure housing, are more likely to experience homelessness.
Homelessness is both the cause and effect of other problems, ranging from chronic substance abuse, financial instability caused by unemployment or underemployment, mental illness, domestic abuse, and more.
Most often, it is a complex set of circumstances, choices and traumas that lead a person to the point of homelessness.
The effects of homelessness on people are large. They range from health issues to personal entrapment. It is believed that many homeless individuals failed in their lives to cope with their difficulties and this makes them alienate themselves from the rest of the world.
At the time when a homeless person realises that he/she won’t have a roof to live under forever, it is hard for them to believe. It is this fact of not dealing with reality that makes homeless people less able to take actions, and they suffer psychologically as a result.
Homeless people will often experience feelings of loneliness, which can have very detrimental effects on their spiritual, physical and emotional health. Loneliness has been linked to ailments such as anxiety, hostility, depression, poor self-concept, alcoholism, and psychosomatic illnesses.
Homelessness is a proof that there is a defect in the societies that have it, and in order to create a better functioning society it is necessary to solve the issue of homelessness.
Homelessness statistics reveal a significant global problem, but with your help, it’s not beyond solving.
There are many solutions for solving homelessness, one of which is supporting charities. The grassroots charities are the nearest to homeless people and have the greatest chance of positively impacting a homeless persons’ life.
We should definitely sympathise with homeless people, because with the right charities, institutions, support and help, homelessness can be overcome and homeless people will be able to make a change in their lives.