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MODULE ONE Understanding Marginalized Populations.

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1 MODULE ONE Understanding Marginalized Populations

2 Objectives: Students will: Have a better understanding of what it means to be homeless. Understand some of the causes of homelessness. Understand common myths and stereotypes regarding the homeless population.

3 The Steward B. McKinney Act 1987 A person is considered homeless who “Lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate night- time residence” Has a primary night time residence that is: –A supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations –An institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized –A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

4 One of the major factors contributing to homelessness is poverty: Poverty affects access to housing, health care, food, child care, and education. Poverty creates a vicious cycle.

5 The cycle: You need a job to earn money, but you need a car to get to work. You need money to get the car, but can’t get to work to earn the money to buy the car. You need child care while you are at work, but you have no money.

6 Who are the homeless? One in ten homeless people is a woman. One in six is under the age of 25. One in 14 is over 60 years old. The National Alliance to End Homelessness provides us with these figures about homeless people in the United States. (www.endhomelessness.org)

7 Is homelessness a big problem? In the United States, approximately 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year. Families with children make up 50% of the homeless population. The homeless population is growing.

8 Age: Children under the age of 18 account for 25.3% of the urban homeless population. 51% of the homeless population are people between the ages of 31 and % of the homeless population is between age 55 and 60.

9 Gender: Single men comprise 41% of the urban homeless population. Single women comprise 14% of the urban homeless population.

10 Ethnicity: In 2003, the homeless population was: – 49% African-American – 35% Caucasian – 13% Hispanic – 2% Native American – 1% Asian Like the total U.S. population, the ethnic makeup of homeless populations varies according to geographic location.

11 Veterans : 40% of homeless men have served in the armed forces, compared to 34% of the general adult male population.

12 Mental illness and addictions: Approximately 23% homeless adults suffer from some form of severe and persistent mental illness. Addiction disorders, such as drug abuse and alcoholism, affect about 30% of the homeless population.

13 What causes homelessness? Not enough affordable housing Incomes too low to meet basic needs Domestic violence

14 Other factors that contribute to homelessness: Moving to a new area Being evicted Coming out of an institution: – treatment center – detoxification program – prison Natural disasters such as house fires, hurricanes Running away from home Losing a job

15 There are many health problems associated with homelessness: Malnutrition Dental disease High blood pressure Depression Communicable diseases such as colds and flu

16 Some programs and services to help the homeless: Shelter housing Food stamps Soup kitchens Clothing and food donations Outreach for dental care Medical clinics Medicaid/SAGA (state administered general assistance) Medical clinics and Community Health Centers

17 Are shelters helpful? Shelters are good as a short term solution: When one has just become homeless When one has had to leave a violent situation When it’s too cold to be outside

18 Shelters are not long term solutions: Shelters are often overcrowded or filled to capacity. Shelters only provide temporary and short term housing. Living in a shelter can be scary and demoralizing. A shelter does not provide a place one can call “home.”

19 What about state and federal assistance? Programs are being cut Benefits are being reduced Benefits are usually not enough to cover housing, medical bills, and child care Assistance is a limited and short-term solution It is also very difficult to navigate the paperwork, rules and regulations of the assistance program system. There are many different federal, state and local assistance programs. However:

20 Other problems: Many of these services are limited to first come, first served. Transportation may be necessary, which is difficult when you’re homeless. These are not long-term solutions. Not all those who need help are aware of where they can get help. Mental illness and substance abuse often affect or prevent participation.

21 Solutions: The causes of homelessness are very complex. The solutions to homelessness are also very complex. No one solution can solve the problem.

22 Summary: Families with children make up 50% of the homeless population. The federal and state programs that provide the homeless with assistance are only short- term solutions.


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