The homelessness population has been exponentially increasing due to many factors; the life expectancy of a person facing homelessness is approximately 48 years, Photo credit: Creative Commons
The homelessness population has been exponentially increasing due to many factors; the life expectancy of a person facing homelessness is approximately 48 years, Photo credit: Creative Commons

In the end homelessness is a choice

April 14, 2022

California has the largest homelessness population in the nation, which many believe is due to the lack of affordable housing and opportunity. There are many programs available to those in need of assistance ultimately making homelessness a choice.

California’s homelessness population in 2019 was estimated at 161,548 according to the Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Of that number approximately 4.9% are families with children, 7.1% are veterans, 7.5% are unaccompanied adults ranging from ages 18 to 24 and 32.1% are individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.

California saw a 6.8% increase in homelessness between 2019 and 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a financial strain on everyone but economically hardly impacted the homeless population, “income had not changed during the pandemic because they “never really had any anyway.” Rather than increasing deprivation for many people experiencing homelessness, the pandemic has arguably perpetuated their severe deprivation instead,” said Hayley Morris, a UC Davis Media Relations Intern.

With the homelessness population exponentially increasing in California, one would think with all the resources and programs implemented by the state individuals would be able to pick themselves up, regaining control of their life and reintegrate themselves into society.

“There’s little evidence to suggest undocumented immigrants constitute a large share of California’s homeless population,” according to CalMatters.

Documented and undocumented Immigrants are able to find housing and a sustainable source of income while not being given many the advantages American citizens are given at birth. Proving that homeless is more often a choice.

There are 32 programs offered in the United States government aimed to combat the homelessness crisis. Each program is unique to fit the needs of every individual offering treatment to health concerns, mental health support, substance abuse, and additional assistance for children, expecting mothers, families, runaways, and all humans.

 

It is impossible to not find a program aimed at offering assistance to those in need – wether it be a lack of knowledge regarding resources, there are programs available to everyone.

Individuals that have been homeless for years are homeless because they are not actively seeking help wether it be due to addiction, mental health issues or simply enjoying a homeless lifestyle.

CalWORKs offers a homelessness assistance programed meant to help families find housing both permanent and temporary. Temporary housing assistance helps pay housing at a temporary shelter, motel or hotel costs for up to 16 days. Permanent housing helps prevent eviction or secure housing.

An individuals needs while experiencing homelessnesses are like snowflakes in the sense that no two situations – or snowflakes are alike.

No person that is currently homeless decided they wanted to be homeless, every single person has a different story.

The most common causes leading to homelessness are the lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, low wages, mental illness and a lack of needed services or substance abused and a lack of aid in assisting in those services. The most common cause of homelessness in women is escaping domestic violence.

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