Jacky Dickman

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Causes of Homelessness

The two main causes of homelessness is poverty and a lack of affordable housing. In 2004, 37 million people were living in poverty, a large 12.7% of the population. Some other causes are loss of job or illness. The loss of job issue is being caused by a decline in manufacturing jobs, and an increase of temporary and part-time jobs.

There are defined to be 2 types of homeless people. The first is homeless because of financial mismanagement. The only way to change this would be to correct their financial situation, maybe by getting a job. The second type is financial crisis due to an illness or addiction. These people must receive treatment in order to get out of homelessness. In many cases, this type of people die waiting for help.

Personal Stories

  • Lisa and Lexus - Lisa was pregnant and unable to work due to medical reasons, and she and her daughter were forced to live in a weekly rate hotel. They went through several struggles because Lisa is and will be jobless because of her medical issues.
  • Zac - Zac has been homeless since the age of 12. He often sleeps in parking garages because he has no where else.
  • Kevin - Kevin is living in a Chicago youth shelter because he was kicked out from his Mom's home when he was 15 years old. From 15-18, he tried couch surfing and moving in with his Dad. Confrontations occurred and Kevin ended up moving out. Kevin is a homeless youth and is very grateful for youth shelters.
  • David Pirtle - David was living in a middle class family, graduated from college, and was even a 15 year restaurant manager. David was diagnosed with schizophrenia which is halucenation and where you hear voices. He lost everything. He then hitchhiked to Washington DC. He had been homeless for 2 years when he was caught shoplifting. He was given the option of jail or a homeless shelter along with medication for his medical issue. He is now working with "Until We're Home" which is a group that fights homelessness in Washington DC.

For more personal information, follow this link: http://invisiblepeople.tv/blog/

What can be done?


The Supreme Court recently wouldn't review a case on how LA deals with homeless possessions. In this case, 8 homeless people's belongings were taken when going to the restroom or eating. The city wanted to amend this, but it was denied. The people want city wide policy changes, and this is something the cities and the government can change in order to reduce homelessness.

There has also been some courts on whether or not the homeless could vote because they don't have a residence address. It was decided that they can if they list the address of a shelter or a street corner that they reside at. For more information, follow this link: http://www.nationalhomeless.org/projects/vote/court.html

The Government could offer more shelters and help provide for them more. They could have a government funded organization that hands out clothes and food to them so they can survive.


In many cities, there are homeless shelters there to aid the homeless not only with a place to sleep, but some help them get back on their feet. Some help get them jobs even. This is something the homeless can do to help get out of homelessness. By getting a job and saving money, they are preparing for their future.

Some helpful steps that can be taken by the homeless are as follows:

  • Know that you are special
  • Acknowledge your barriers
  • Take personal responsibility
  • Set realistic goals
  • Pay your debts
  • Value relationships
  • Accept support
  • Commit to personal renewal
  • Maintain Hope
  • Know that it is a life long journey

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The VA is already committed to ending Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015, but that is only for the Veterans. The community can help by donating to them whenever possible and donating to food pantry's and homeless shelters. The main thing we can do is donate our time, though. Helping out at food pantries and talking with the homeless will help as well. If we encourage them to get a job or to ask for help, we will never know the effect we made on them. After researching homelessness, I have realized how many homeless people there are, and I plan to help reduce that number because of it.