29 January 2017
English Comp 2
Housing for the Homeless
Homelessness has been a major issue in the United States for many decades now. There have always been homeless people but in the past few decades the numbers have skyrocketed to another level. In efforts to put an end to poverty, many have tried to come up with different types of housing solutions for the homeless, but not many have been successful. There are those who think that the reason these institutions have not worked is due to the fact that no one has taken the time to find out why people are actually living on the streets. Many homeless individuals have either mental or physical issues, so one standard homeless shelter is not going to be the solution for everyone. Homeless shelters need to be directed towards the needs of the individuals who will be inhabiting them. These people need to be treated as people and not as a poverty statistic. One major issue among the homeless is traumatic brain injury, and unfortunately not many people address it. Traumatic brain injury is a very serious problem and is what causes most individuals to enter the homeless category (Bornstein).
Brain injury is one of the main reasons individuals are homeless in the United States. In a recent study done by Dr. Steven W. Hwang of Saint Michael’s hospital, it appeared that seventy percent of homeless people who were interviewed developed their brain injury just before they became homeless (Vranic). Dr. Hwang surveyed around 1000 individuals, so just imagine how large the percentage of homeless people with brain related injuries would be if thousands were surveyed. If traumatic brain injury is so prevalent in these couple hundred people, it is wise to think that it is a major issue in homeless people all over the country.
Such brain injuries are what put these people on the streets, and in order to get them off of the streets the homeless shelters being created need to be centered on helping those with brain injuries. An institution cannot just provide a bed and food for someone and expect them to overcome their illness. In order for these individuals to become functioning parts of society the real reason that they are homeless needs to be focused on. If putting an end to poverty is something that is really important to this country than people need to look at the little facts, not just the big picture.
Traumatic injuries of the brain are a large problem among the homeless, but there are also other health related issues that put people on the streets such as mental illness and other physical illnesses. Whatever these people struggle with needs to be addressed at any institution they check into. There needs to be specific housing specialized on each singular issue. For example, there could be three clinics next to one another; one focused on brain injury, one focused on mental illness, and one focused on physical sickness. If these homeless shelters were more specialized like this they would be a lot more successful and the poverty rate would go down. These people need specialized attention in order to help them to succeed in getting above the poverty line. After being on the streets for so long without any help, as well as suffering from various illnesses, these individuals need various types of treatment that needs to be provided for them. It is this country’s job to help in picking those up who have fallen down, and this cannot be done without a strategic plan.
“A greater understanding of the link between homelessness and TBI, including more accurate measurements of rates and impairments associated with TBI, is necessary in order to tailor prevention and intervention programs aimed at reducing the incidence and managing the symptoms of TBI among people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless”(BMC Public Health). This quote is exactly what the United States needs to do. In order to resolve the issue of homelessness there needs to be a deeper understanding of why poverty is so high. This applies to seeing why traumatic brain injury causes people to become homeless, as well as the same for mental illness and sickness. An understanding needs to come about so the problem can be fixed hopefully before it even starts. If for some reason this does not work, that is where the homeless shelters come in. This is why it is so important for these shelters to cater to the needs of each and every single individual. Therapy, medical treatment, food, housing, clothing, and much more need to be provided for these people to help them merge back into society. Homeless individuals cannot just be looked at as homeless people anymore, society needs to look at them as people who are just like everyone else who just need some help getting back on their feet.
In conclusion homelessness is clearly an issue that needs to be focused on more than it is currently. People are people all the same with the same types of needs, and just because these individuals are homeless does not mean that their issues should not be catered to as well. If improving the poverty rate is really going to be prioritized, then the people who are actually homeless need to be prioritized. They cannot be looked at as just a statistic especially because they are not. Just like someone who is not in poverty needs medical attention if they develop a brain injury or mental illness, so do these individuals. It is society’s job to provide them with the means of help that they need.
MPH, Stephen W. Hwang MD, Angela Colantonio PhD OT Reg, Shirley Chiu MA, George Tolomiczenko PhD MPH, Alex Kiss PhD, Laura Cowan BScN, and Donald A. Redelmeier MD MSHSR. “Stephen W. Hwang MD MPH.” The Effect of Traumatic Brain Injury on the Health of Homeless People. Cmaj, 07 Oct. 2008. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
Vranic, Jane Topolovec. “Traumatic Brain Injury among People Who Are Homeless: A Systematic Review.” BMC Public Health. Bmc Public Health, 5 Dec. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
Bornstein, David .. “A Plan to Make Homelessness History.” Opinionator. The Opinon Pages, 20 Dec. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Bornstein, David .. “The Street Level Solution.” Opinionator. The Opinion Pages, 24 Dec. 2010. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.