America’s Invisible Numbers

As each decade passes there comes to light a new or growing national problem that faces our country. Our nation’s history is blanketed with social problems the American people have encountered, such as civil rights, recessions, political struggles, warfare, and increasing unemployment. Each of these issues has received media attention for the problems, complications, and obstacles they provide for the population. Each of these issues in their own right is important and needs to be addressed because it affects every person in the country. However, there is another problem that poses a challenge to the American people that does not receive the attention it so desperately needs. The issue is American homelessness, a segment of the population that continues to grow with each passing year. Homelessness is caused by a number of factors that differ for each person. The most significant causes of homelessness are the lack of affordable housing coupled with a national increase in poverty, mental illness and addiction disorders.

According to the McKinney-Vento Act of 1987, a homeless person is defined as any person who lacks housing. This includes individuals whose primary residence during the night is a supervised public or private facility that provides temporary accommodations or an individual who is a resident in transitional housing. This means an individual who lacks fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, and an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is either a supervised shelter that provides temporary accommodation, an institution that provides temporary residence for those that should be institutionalized, or a private or public place not intended for regular sleeping accommodations. (McKinney-Vento Act, Wikipedia)

The United States Conference of Mayors has indicated that the major cause of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing. The report defines affordable...

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