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The problem of homelessness affects society since ancient times. In relation to various aspects of the individuals’ lives in which other options and opportunities are fading away, of income and family support signify a means by which to achieve a better social and material future. In the context of the poverty the state-enforced destitution brought about by living on social security benefits, the social censure that structured their experience of single parenthood, the community ostracisation that resulted from having children of mixed parentage, the ever present possibility of being victims of homelessness or a housing crisis and the respondents’ rejection of being dependent on men – involvement in prostitution was seen as an opportunity for future survival.
Lack of income and stable job are the main causes of homelessness. All the homeless people experience poverty, which is often cited by them as the precipitating cause of their engagement in crimes and illegal activities (Jencks 82). For some time, lack of educational qualifications, few marketable skills, unemployment, low pay, living on social security benefits, lone motherhood and housing difficulties have been used as signifiers of poverty. Both separately and combined, these circumstances reduce the opportunity to participate fully in social life. They act as barriers to the exercise of citizenship, regardless of whether citizenship is conceived in strictly legalistic/civil terms or in broader terms of social citizenship. In other words, poverty acts as a constraining force in an individual’s life (Baumohl 32).
The main causes of women’s homelessness in general are physical abuse and marital breakdown. By removing themselves from the ‘family’, women place themselves at risk of losing what little access they have to housing security. Women in such a situation often find themselves weighing up the risks of staying in violent, intolerable or abusive relationships against the risks of going. Although the individuals’ experiences of housing insecurity accorded with the housing experiences of women more generally, the primary cause of their housing insecurity was violence and abuse rather than relationship breakdowns (Jencks 72). Recent data based on a national survey estimated that up to 7% (13.5 million) of the United States population have experienced literal homelessness (Cooper 2000).
The act of ‘doing a runner’ is recalled as having significance only inasmuch as it has affected the individuals’ choice of future actions and the risky situations that have followed (that is, potential homelessness and destitution). In other words, the significance of doing a runner inhered in what happened afterwards. It is often thought that having paid employment is one of the primary ways of avoiding poverty. It has been demonstrated that jobs that are low paid, have little status or security and/or are organized on a casual, part-time or flexible basis are a cause of rather than a guard against homelessness. Understanding criminal records of homeless people as blocking all prospect of legitimate employment is particularly relevant given that all of homeless individuals can be convicted of a fraud-related offence (Baumohl 38). Homelessness is both a social and personal problem of millions of people deprived their chance to have a stable job, income and state support.
In sum, In addition to housing difficulties caused by flight from physical violence and abuse, four of the interviewees spoke of housing problems that had resulted from economic difficulties. Similarly, the immediacy of the cash exchange between prostitutes and punters, the informal organization of the institution of prostitution and the myth that money from prostitution is ‘easy money’ were all deployed in the interviewees’ portrayal of prostitution as an easily accessible, unlocked door behind which lay new, wider social networks, friends and, most importantly, economic stability.