Homelessness-A Growing Problem in America?

The U.S. has set another record--there are more homeless now than ever before.


The U.S. has set another record–there are more homeless now than ever before.

Paris Acosta, Photojournalist

Contrary to the optimistic notion that major American cities are proving resilient and bouncing back from the Great Recession, the staggering number of homeless people in the United States continues to increase and thwart any improvement in unemployment ratings. In fact, since 2010, cities such as Washington D.C, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, and San Diego, have experienced a 20 percent increase in the number of homeless families. We are plagued with a homeless epidemic.

As foreclosure rates soared during the 2007 Recession, kids and their families were forced to the street. And as thousands of adults scampered to find work, teens living off of their minimum wage jobs were replaced by older, more qualified applicants. Now, it is just as difficult for young adults to find decent paying jobs, and as of July 1, 2014, 12,500 unaccompanied minors were found wandering the streets—no food, no clothing, no medical treatment, no stability.

It goes without saying that homelessness gravely affects all its victims, but it’s a sad realization that the futures of homeless children were destroyed before they even had a chance of beginning. Fifty percent of homeless teens age 16 and older, drop out of school; many resort to using drugs as a means of coping and often become addicts. Even worse, dozens of homeless teens are exploited for the online porn industry and face the peril of promiscuity to feed their addictions.

Sarah Yu, a senior on campus, speaks out: “These numbers are overwhelming. We keep hearing that the economy is getting better, but it’s clear that kids and families are still suffering.” Compassionately, she asks, “What can the community do to help?” Volunteer.

With just a few hours a week, it is possible to make a vast impact on the lives of those in need. Most cities have a city mission that serves food and offers a temporary shelter to the homeless, so sign up for the local soup kitchen or just donate to food banks. Other volunteering opportunities can be found in charities who donate clothes and toys or in Habitat for Humanity, an organization which builds homes for low income families.

Homelessness is not a quick fix problem, and will likely haunt the United States for many years to come, but it can be alleviated by people who put forth effort to reach out and help. Whether it is a donation of time, talent or money, or any form of aid to extend to the homeless, it’s a step in the right direction for society as a whole.