Homeless and Help

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Because of the societal expectations that revolve around their lives, homeless people face tremendous challenges. Lack of food, shelter, crime, and substance use are among the challenges they face. These problems contribute to psychological discomfort due to social stigmatization of homeless people. These psychological problems worsen and their wellbeing is compromised without effective measures to support homeless people. It can be an efficient way to come up with suitable interventions to consider the problems that homeless people face from a psychological perspective. As I’m interested in seeking permanent solutions for homeless people in my city, I chose this particular problem. As I walk home each day, I often meet homeless people, and although I little to help, I am aware that there is much that can be done to help the homeless people.

Evaluation of Research Articles

The issue of homelessness has been a subject of interest for various researchers in the contemporary context. In a recent study conducted by Toolis and Hammack (2015), investigate the lived experience of homeless youth. The study is based on a number of psychological challenges that are faced by the homeless youth. In their study, Toolis and Hammack identify some of these challenges as public perceptions, stereotypes, as well as the attribution of their homelessness to personal failure. Further, their research shows that the homeless youth are likely to face trauma and mental illness. The objective of their study was to use a narrative framework to find out how the homeless youth interpret their lived experiences to construct their identities amidst the stigmatizing discourses.

The methodology that the researchers employ in their study is the use of narrative interviews as well as ethnographic observations. The narrative interviews help the researchers’ document and understand the lived experiences of the homeless youth while the ethnographic observation supplements the findings from the interviews. The study was conducted in two homeless centers; one in Chicago while the other was conducted in Seattle. The results indicated that the homeless youth believed that they are no bad, but just in unwanted conditions, they do not look into their past, they feel that people do not trust them, and that they are ashamed of nothing. In the discussion of the findings, the authors reveal common themes such as struggle, domestic violence, lack of food, shelter along with clothing. The research concludes that an understanding of the lived experiences can ensure that more effective interventions (Toolis & Hammack, 2015). In general, I do believe that the areas highlighted by the researchers in this article can help us understand the current lives of homeless people in the U.S.

At the same time, another current study by Brown et al. (2016), recounts the life course experiences that are involved with earlier versus later onset of homelessness among adults. Further, the study analyses existing health, as well as, functional prominence by age at the initial instance of homelessness. In the contemporary society, it is estimated that half of the single adults are more than 50 years old. Brown et al., points out that this cohort of homeless individuals has unique health problems as compared to the younger homeless people. The study interviewed 350 homeless individuals who were above the age of 50. The participants were recruited through population-based sampling in Oakland, and California. Ultimately, the research highlighted that a god number of homeless individuals became homeless for the first time after the age of 50. The article concludes by pointing out the relevance of curbing the growing number of homeless individuals by identifying appropriate interventions; particularly the prevention of housing loss in late life.

I believe that the study is relevant to the current situation of homelessness across the country. The findings of the study are consistent with other studies thus shading light on what ought to be done to help homeless individuals. Additionally, the study is unique considering that it evaluates participants aged 50 and above while highlighting their current health as well as functional status. The findings of Brown et al., are important considering that they highlight the different patterns in homeless adults as well as the differing vulnerabilities among the homeless adults. Consequently underlining the need for strategies that pay attention to these unique differences to prevent and bring an end to the phenomena of homelessness among older adults. 

Description of Action

The action I took for purposes of this assignment was to help homeless people. I could often meet people who had cardboards which indicated that they were in need of money or food. During the first day, I met a homeless girl who was with her younger brother; they had clothes, but were begging for money as they were hungry. I decided to take them to a local eatery where we had a meal together. As I left I left them some money which they could use for their meals for the next day. Moreover, I also met a teenager who had no coat, although it was cold during that day. I decided that I would donate one of my jackets to the teenager. Additionally, I also donated meals to three other homeless people. In both cases, I encouraged the homeless people to seek help in the shelter centers. I have attached receipts to verify that I indeed helped homeless people.

Evaluation

After helping the homeless people, I can attest that I received feedback from the people that I had helped. I gave the girl my phone number so that she could call me once she arrived at the shelter center I had recommended. After two weeks a received a call from the girl informing me that she had indeed sought help, and was happy that together wither brother, they did not have to counter the cold in the streets. For the teenage boy, I still meet him in the streets, and he tells that he does not want to go the shelter centers due to the domestic violence that he has faced in the past. I am yet to get any feedback from the other three homeless people that I helped. In general, I believe that y actions were effective only for the short term. I contemplate that more needs to be done to ensure that the homeless people get the help they require in the long-term.

Personal Reflection

Helping out the homeless people and being able to work in close cooperation with them has helped me educate myself about the issue. The common stereotypes about homelessness whether they are associated with race, laziness as well as substance and drug abuse are not entirely true. Therefore, by volunteering to provide them with food, I found out the real stories behind the condition of each person. Interestingly, I noted that some homeless individuals have jobs, and others are mentally ill. Further, I learned that homeless individuals are not viable, I even shared food with them. The current interventions being employed to prevent and end homelessness are not effective considering that the number of homeless individuals grows each day. Therefore there is a need for the concerned authorities to pay attention to the unique factors that lead to homelessness and improve the current interventions.

Additionally, through my interaction with the homeless individuals, I learned that the psychological impacts of homelessness could be detrimental to not only the self-esteem of a person but also the well-being of an individual. Homeless persons often suffer from stress including psychological trauma which may result from the loss of shelter or victimization. I also noted that homelessness might make and individual to distrust others. Ultimately, the fight to prevent and end homelessness is a responsibility for every citizen, and through our collective efforts, one day every individual will have a home.

I contemplate that my actions to help the homeless people in my locality have had a positive impact in the community. Through my actions, I have been able to take one more family off the streets, and I do believe that the rest of the people I helped will also consider going off the streets. The other impact that my actions have had on the community is that I can improve the relationships between the locals and the homeless people. For example, next time when I will go to help the homeless people, I will ensure that I am joined by a family member or friend so that we can help more people. In essence, I do realize that if more people carried out my actions, we could have less homeless people in the community.

References

Brown, R. T., Goodman, L., Guzman, D., Tieu, L., Ponath, C., & Kushel, M. B. (2016). Pathways to Homelessness among Older Homeless Adults: Results from the HOPE HOME Study. PloS one, 11(5), e0155065.

Toolis, E. E., & Hammack, P. L. (2015). The lived experience of homeless youth: A narrative approach. Qualitative Psychology, 2(1), 50-68.

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