What Are the Root Causes of Homelessness?
68% of U.S. cities report that addiction is their single largest cause of homelessness. Effective addiction recovery programming that address the root causes of addiction is essential to successfully transition hurting people from homelessness to stable housing.
Nationally, 50% of homeless women and children are fleeing domestic violence. When a woman is abused, she faces a crisis of safety. If she stays in the home, she'll be beaten again. If she leaves, she'll have little means of support. Either choice is a tremendous risk.
20-25% of the homeless population suffers from mental illness. For these men and women, ordinary tasks such as maintaining their physical appearance and health, or managing a job and paying rent, can be insurmountable without assistance.
job loss & underemployment
The economy has left many Americans under-employed at wages that can't sustain them. They are in desperate circumstances after layoffs and job cuts. Unemployment benefits and savings run out, leaving people homeless who never thought it could happen to them.
Homeless teens often become so due to family conflicts. They are kicked out or choose to run away over issues of abuse, teen pregnancy, addiction or sexual orientation. 63% of these teens have been physically or sexually abused. 42% of homeless youth are LGBTQ.
post traumatic stress
On any given night, as many as 200,000 military veterans sleep on the street. Post- traumatic stress can cause them to be emotionally withdrawn, or physically unable to cope with daily responsibilities. Ashamed, they may leave their families and homes as they succumb to addiction.
It's not uncommon to discover that homeless men and women are burdened by grief. Unable to deal with the death of a loved one or other significant trauma, they numb their pain in addiction. They are consumed with grief, which causes them to neglect their job, lose their home, even abandon their will to live.
By the time hurting men or women go to a shelter for help, they've burned through every supportive relationship possible. Friends and family are no longer able or willing to help. What relationships that have left are usually predatory. In a sense, their situation is less about homelessness and more about un-wantedness.
"Once you get down this low, it's hard to get back up," we often hear homeless men and women say. The longer they are homeless, the more difficult it becomes to combat the lies they hear in their heads. They believe there's no way out. They don't deserve another chance. They'll never break free from addiction. They'll always be a failure. More than anything, these men and women need hope.