Homelessness: A Human Rights Violation

Homelessness: A Human Rights Violation

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Homelessness in the United States is not just an issue of economics, it is a violation of human rights. All humans should have the right to roof of their heads, food, water, and access to health care, but that is not the case. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, on any given night approximately 400,000 adults were experiencing homelessness, and shelters were unable to house all these individuals. Homelessness should be regarded as a public health issue, homelessness can increase the risk of individuals contracting illnesses such as HIV/AIDs, hepatitis, and tuberculosis.

People experiencing homelessness also suffer from mental illnesses. According to the National Institute of Mental Health and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, 24% of people who reside in homeless shelters were noted as having a serious mental illness. People who are diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are 2.4 and 1.6 times as likely to become homeless.

All of this can be prevented or interrupted if our government:

1.    Allocated funds towards programs that aid in ending homelessness.

-       In 2019, the federal government used $718 billion dollars of our tax dollars towards the U.S. military.

2.    If more affordable supportive housing was created for lower income individuals in our country

- Affordable supportive housing is different from affordable housing in that it provides those who are at risk for becoming homeless or who are homeless additional resources and support from social services agencies.

3.    Being consistent with checking in on previously homeless individuals with serious mental disorders and substance abuse issues as they are more likely to become homeless again. This is in part due to disparities within the health care systems and stigmas surrounding homelessness.

-       Those with mental illnesses need to be given better treatment plans and monitored more effectively. We cannot expect indivuals who are most likely battling multiple health issues and are living on the streets without access to health care to be consistent with checkups. Especially when they face barriers such as, lack of transportation, food, money, and health insurance.

-       Without access to free or affordable health care these indivuals are more likely to self-medicate using drugs, which increase their risk of contracting diseases further deteriorating their health.

So, I urge the U.S. government to create a plan of action, to end homelessness in the U.S., through the creation of more affordable housing units, affordable/ free access to healthcare and mental health services. There are many ways this can be done one way is by allocating more funds to the HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program, and creating more affordable supportive housing for homeless individuals and families.

https://endhomelessness.org/ending-homelessness/policy/federal-funding-homelessness-programs/#:~:text=Congress%20should%20invest%20in%20proven,keep%20up%20with%20rising%20evictions

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