Homelessness In America Needs A Solution

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Submitted by: Home Aid

That is a bold statement… homelessness in America needs a solution. Of course, homelessness is not only limited to America but in the face of the global economic crisis, homelessness can quickly become a sad reality for many who may have never thought it could come true. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over the period of a half decade, about two to three percent of the U.S. population (five to eight million people) will experience at least one night of homelessness. But who is considered homeless? Homelessness statistics not only apply to those with mental health issues or substance abuse issues, they could also include your former co-worker, neighbor or childhood friend. There are three main types of homelessness: chronic, temporary or transitional, and episodic.

A chronic homeless person is a single person living with an immobilizing condition that has been continuously homeless for an entire year or more or has been homeless four times in the last three years. Typically these people are frequent users of the homeless assistance system and of other health or social services. The chronically homeless almost never earn a significant income through wages and require long-term housing and health service assistance due to their disabilities.

An episodically homeless person is a person that uses the homeless assistance system and other health and social services intermittently and for short periods of time. Often this group is young in comparison to the chronically homeless group and many are substance abusers. The episodically homeless usually bounce around from the street, to shelters, to treatment centers and to jails and prisons depending on their sobriety.

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The people that don’t usually come to mind when you see the word “homeless” are those in the temporary or transitional homeless group but, in fact, most families and single adults that become homeless fit into this group. These people only experience a short period of time in the homeless assistance program due to circumstances beyond their control like job loss, natural disasters and other catastrophes, illness and medical problems, domestic violence, etc. and usually never return. They want to find a way to house themselves after experiencing a housing crisis that made them homeless.

The best way to help those that fall into the temporary homeless group is to quickly provide them with accommodations and help find them appropriate assistance services while they work to rebuild their lives. Many homeless organizations work to help this group by providing temporary housing while they are experiencing homelessness.

Contributing to organizations that help those that are temporarily homeless can be done through volunteering time, money or supplies. By donating money, individuals and financial institutions can help these organizations continue building shelters for those who need assistance to get back on their feet.

Many business-type sponsors including the building industry and its trade partners have the ability to donate more than money. The key to the organizations that assist the temporary homeless’ success is the leveraging of donations of building materials and the labor of professional builders. Without the generosity of both individual and corporate donations, many organizations would not have the means to help the temporary homeless.

About HomeAid HomeAid is a leading national non-profit organization that builds and renovates multi-unit shelters for America’s temporarily homeless families and individuals while they rebuild their lives. HomeAid has built more than 200 multi-unit shelters with an additional 37 in development. These shelters provide more than 1,800,000 bed nights annually nationwide. To learn how you can help the temporarily homeless, please visit:


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