Homelessness has become a social catastrophe in the United States ofAmerica over the years. It emerged as a national crisis way back inthe 1870s. The homeless have a tendency of living in most urban areasin the country. Notably, homelessness is considered as one of theviolations of human rights to access accommodation (Lynch and Cole2). By definition, a homeless person is someone who lacks residenceor shelter to at least sleep in during the night. Homelessness wasseen to have increased after the great recession in America. Inreference to the reports given by the Department of Housing And UrbanDevelopment (HUD), which is usually released every June, about1,593,150 people in the U.S. are homeless. In 2013, it was reportedthat close to 2.5 million children became homeless this is a largenumber. In Las Vegas, homelessness is a terrifying situation becausethe affected persons suffer diseases and hunger among otherpredicaments that force them to engage in crime and consequentlybecome a problem to the society.
The majority of the people who are homeless in Las Vegas are mostlythe white middle-aged men between the ages of 51-60. Half of themsleep on the streets and the other in the shelters this, however,does not exclude the youth. The homeless in Vegas include panhandlersand full-time hustlers who flood the tunnels and streets. There arealso homeless children who do not attend school and live on thestreets (Bassuk, DeCandia, and Beach 4). They are known to survive onthe money dropped by passersby or tourists. In every 10,000 people inVegas, 50 people are homeless. In fact, it is estimated that 9,432individuals are homeless, thereby making Las Vegas the 12th largestpopulation. Most of these people do not earn a living rather, theydepend on well-wishers and those walking along the streets for cashhandouts. Some of them use their talents to make some bucks such asplaying the guitar to attract the attention of music lovers. The mostnotable obstacles that have been noted are the use of drugs andgambling. Whatever money they receive they indulge in drugs andgambling, thereby contributing to the rising death rates. Thehomeless are a neglected and forgotten lot in America (Hopper 40).Many are found lying under the tunnels after overdosing drugs. Worse,the hot weather in Vegas is unhelpful in the situation as well. Thehomeless people who crouch on the streets have a hard time with thehigh temperatures.
Homelessness arises due to various reasons thus, it is notintentional. Among the young, it is sometimes due to deprived healthychildhoods where most of the children have nowhere to stay afterbeing released from foster care so, they end up on the streets(Fagan 27).A majority of the foster kids are abandoned after leavingthe foster homes, and since a majority cannot trace their families,they are forced to live in the streets. Natural disasters have alsocontributed a great deal to homelessness this includes hurricanesand floods. Individuals who have served time in prison or are drugaddicts tend to have a hard time finding jobs to cater for theirneeds inclusive of the mentally ill persons. Thus, due to lack ofemployment, they lack money for housing. The only option left is thesheltered homes or the streets. Furthermore, others find themselveson the streets after running away from their homes due to domesticviolence or those teenagers who are disowned by their families due totheir sexual orientation (Quintana, Rosenthal and Krehely 44). Theothers are the homeless veterans who have lacked job training fromthe government and proper mental health care. Foreclosure ofresidential homes, evictions, lack of family support and lack ofaffordable urban housing projects contribute a great deal. This isdespite the fact that a decent home is a national goal for theAmerican leadership (Bratt, Stone and Hartman 15).
Under the homeless, some youths, especially the females belong to theLGBT group, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Thehomeless veterans who worked in the Army and after retirement cannotsecure affordable accommodation. There are also the homeless familiesthat cannot afford housing in any way. Most Americans spend half oftheir earned money on rent, which many can hardly afford (Desmond10).
The larger community in Las Vegas can help contain the homelesscrisis aside from the government providing solutions. The able peopleof the city should come together and at least offer to buildsemi-permanent or permanent housing that is affordable andaccommodate the homeless. This can be taken as a socialresponsibility initiative by the Las Vegas residents.
Most of the homeless people can barely afford even to take a showerthus, many of them are untidy because of sleeping on the streets. Theyouth of Las Vegas who pass through these streets can save a day ortwo each week to gather the homeless and make them clean up andprovide clothes they no longer use (Hernandez par.2). This can bedone by the entire community as well. The youth can also findsheltered homes that are not crowded or full, which are willing toaccommodate those on the streets.
The homeless people suffer from different ailments such as heartconditions picked from the cold weather at night, mental illnesses,or drug abuse. In this regard, the medical practitioners within lastVegas can organize free medical checkup for the homeless andcounseling for the mentally unstable once in a while. It can be doneby holding the medical days at some designated shelters to attractthe homeless people because some may be adamant to be treated on thestreets. While attending the medical checkups at the shelter, itwould be easy to accommodate them there as well.
The lesbians and gay youth face a lot of discrimination, which alsoaffect their self-esteem and hence their mental statuses. Thecommunity can organize space to accommodate them and provide food andcounseling. Most of the homeless possess valuable they can use toearn a living or get a job. Thus, organizing a workshop whereemployers with vacancies can offer to take up the skilled ones wouldbe a good solution. Most organizations have jobs, but when they see ahomeless individual seeking employment, they tend to shy off fromhiring. Through such an initiative, they can be able to interact,understand them, and preferably offer those jobs. The homelessjust like any other person have a right to access places andfacilities, yet they end up being denied access to the same (Howard1).
Evidently, the homelessness situation in Las Vegas and American, ingeneral, is pitiful and calls for significant changes. Theseindividuals should not be allowed to continue living in the streets.The community can engage in initiatives to provide the necessary aidand save the situation. This is because the homeless people sufferdiseases, lack of food, and become criminals. They engage in crime inattempts to fend for themselves. Consequently, they become a menaceto the same society trying to shun them. Hence, the Las Vegascommunity should not wait for the government to take the first steprather, they should make it an individual endeavor to save thehomeless and address the issue completely.
Bassuk, MD. Carmela DeCandia, and Corey Beach. America’sYoungest Outcasts: A
Report Card on Child Homelessness. Waltham, MA: The NationalCenter on Family Homelessness, 2014
Bratt, Rachael, Michael Stone, and Chester Hartman. A Right ToHousing: Foundation For A
New Social Agenda, Temple University Press, 2013.
Desmond, Mathew. Poverty And Profit in the America. London:Routledge, 2016
Hernandez, Dan. “The Tunnel Dwellers of Las Vegas: Where the City’sVices Play out in the
Shadows.” The Guardian, 2016. Web.
Hopper, Kim. Reckoning With Homelessness. 1st ed., Ithaca,Cornell University Press, 2014.
Howard, Ella. Homeless: Poverty and Place In Urban America.Philadelphia: University Of
Pennsylvania Press, 2013.
Lynch, Philip, and Jacqueline Cole. “Homelessness and Human Rights:Regarding and
Responding to Homelessness as a Human Rights Violation.”Melbourne Journal of International Law, vol. 4, no.1, 2013, pp. 1-12
Quintana, Nico, Rosenthal Josh, and Jeff Krehely. Gay andTransgender Youth