The Biggest Priority for the Homeless: Support
P1. We often make the mistake of putting the homeless population into one category, and do not look at the individual. People are homeless for different reasons, and treating them all the same will fail to keep them of the street. We have to look at each person’s story of how they ended up without a home, and come up with solutions that will actually work. There is, however, common ground that exists among a good portion of homeless people. Nearly half the population has experienced some type of blow to the head in their lifetimes.
P2. According to David Bornstein in “The Street Level Solution,” forty percent of all homeless people have had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) at some point in their lives. Most homeless people have lived fairly normal lives until they suffered a blow to the head that changed them forever. According to Hwang et al., some of the main symptoms of TBI include mood swings, explosive behavior, cognitive impairment, attention deficits, and impulsivity. With these types of symptoms, we can see how it’s easy for people to lose their jobs and ultimately become homeless. Not only does TBI have detrimental symptoms by itself, but can lead to other negative outcomes for the health of homeless people. For people who are homeless and have TBI, there are many more problems they have to deal with other than finding a place to live. Mackelprang states that “TBI occurs frequently among homeless young people and is a marker of adverse outcomes such as mental health difficulties, suicidal behavior, substance use, and victimization.” Although TBI is a major factor in people who are homeless, it is not the only factor that makes it hard for people to adapt to living in a new house.
P3. When people are chronically homeless, it is difficult to come to back to the reality of living a normal lifestyle. When housing becomes available, many people need lots of help adjusting to their new environment. They also need constant support to help them with mental disabilities and addiction problems. When someone starts living in a new place after being on the street for years, it is easy to imagine how they can get lonely. They are not surrounded by people on the streets anymore, but isolated in their own living space. Day-to-day thoughts are no longer about just figuring out how to survive in that moment. Bornstein notes in the “The Street-Level Solution,” that instead, people now have to try to figure out how to get job, form relationships, manage finances, and other normal daily activities.
P4. Homeless people are costly to keep around. On average, they spend four more days in hospitals per year than people who have homes, and are constantly in and out of shelters. According to Topolovec-Vranic at al., they are also more likely to be in and out of jail, and have to use addiction treatments that are expensive. In Los Angeles, the chronically homeless, which is about ten percent of the homeless population in LA, cost half a billion dollars in services annually. Since they cost more money than people with homes, it makes sense that the government would want to fund programs that find them somewhere to live. Although this seems like the obvious solution, the assumption that putting homeless people in houses will solve everything is not entirely correct. According to Bornstein in “A Plan to Make Homelessness History,” the government-run programs also don’t seem to help the chronically homeless, since the public systems they put in place are complicated and make it harder to help people who need it the most. Housing is definitely an important step that helps the homeless start to rebuild their lives, but it is not enough. If they were not able to keep their houses in the past, something different has to be done or else the cycle of homelessness is likely to repeat itself. When someone is taken off the streets and thrown in a house without any type of support, chances are that they will end up right back on the street. Although there are people who think a house is good enough, there are also people who understand the consequences.
P5. An organization based in New York called Common Ground has worked hard on trying to making programs for housing more effcient. In Common Ground residences, having adequate support is one of its main priorities. Residents have access to social services, communal gardens, cooking classes, yoga, and photography classes. In “A Plan to Make Homelessness History,” the organization rarely has any problems with its residents since they have so much support, and the majority of them even get jobs. Organizations like Common Ground set homeless people up for success after they find a place to live. It has support systems in place that help people with TBI and other mental disorders. They understand that homeless people can’t be looked at as one group, but as individuals who all have different needs.
Bornstein, David. “A Plan to Make Homelessness History.” Nytimes.com. N.p., Dec. 20. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Bornstein, David. “The Street-Level Solution.” Nytimes.com. N.p., 24 Dec. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Hwang, Stephen W. et al. “The Effect of Traumatic Brain Injury on the Health of Homeless People.” CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal 179.8 (2008): 779–784. PMC. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
Mackelprang, J. L., Harpin, S. B., Grubenhoff, J. A., & Rivara, F. P. (2014). Adverse outcomes among homeless adolescents and young adults who report a history of traumatic brain injury. American Journal of Public Health, 104(10), 1986-92.
Topolovec-Vranic, Jane, et al. “Clarifying The Link Between Traumatic Brain Injury And Homelessness: Workshop Proceedings.” Brain Injury 27.13/14 (2013): 1600-1605. Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Introductions are hard, aeks. The good news is, they’re not always necessary. If they give you trouble, and especially if they feel like an unnecessary burden you carry out of obligation, consider diving directly into your topic with a provocative thesis statement!
Just an example.
The reason I think you may be laboring to write a good Introduction is that you’ve repeated yourself more than once in just a few sentences, a sure sign that you’re trying to stretch out an idea you’re not sure of.
I’ve color-coded the sentences and clauses in P1 to match several types of claims. See if you can match the colors with the claim types, then notice how the pattern repeats.
Claim Type: People are homeless for different reasons
Claim Type: Treated them all the same will fail
Claim Type: But one group should be recognized as similar and treated with special care.
If that seems like a reasonable summary of most of the material in your first paragraph, imagine if you just used it as an opening:
The most surprising common factor nearly half of the homeless share is not a substance abuse problem, not a catastrophic illness, not an unexpected job loss; it’s having suffered a blow to the head!
I didn’t start out intending to provide you an alternative Introduction, and you’re under no obligation to accept this one, but does it help you to see how much language you invested into stating and restating that first claim, aeks?
You may accept or reject the offer of additional feedback at any time during the semester, aeks. If you want more on this post, you’ll need to make substantial revisions to this draft. When you Update, click the Feedback Please category and I’ll find come back to your post for another read.
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I appreciate your responses.
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Your introduction is considerably better, Aeks. You’ve trimmed the fat. You do still make the mistake of creating a rift between yourself and your readers, in the very first sentence, a problem that an essay might never recover from.
It’s unconscious, I know, this tic we have of dividing the world into our peers and “everyone else,” but it’s deadly to persuasive arguments.
When you lead with, “Many people in today’s society make the mistake,” you’re confronting your readers in your first few words. They don’t trust you enough yet to let you decide whether they’re right or wrong based on your opinion!
But if you start by acknowledging that we all have a lot to learn, they’ll go a long way to accept your help. You could have left “what people think” out of your first sentence, but if you can’t resist that, include yourself in the “not yet fully wise” group.
Does that make sense to you? Reply, please (FEB 09). I too appreciate feedback.
I can see how replacing “many people” with “we” will make a big difference especially for the first sentence of my essay. By doing that I will include myself instead of just making it sound like I’m lecturing to people.
Bingo. Paid lecturers, technical manuals, and recipes have the license to instruct readers. “Preheat the oven to 350. Test for doneness with your finger.” Everybody else is advised to point out the benefits of actions we can all enjoy.
“As researchers, we can either cherry-pick the evidence that proves our prejudices, or we can alter our thesis to meet the facts we discover.”
Your Introduction is much more effective with its adoption of WE language, Aeks. I don’t recommend you revise it again, but if you wanted just to READ it one more time, notice how much language you use to insist on the wisdom of treating each homeless case as unique before completely discrediting that claim with your assertion that 50% of them are similar. Just a thought for reflection.
Very strong work overall.
kept my introduction that I already revised and updated the rest of the essay.