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Vulnerable Populations Essay

1094 words - 5 pages

Vulnerable Populations
October 29, 2013

Vulnerable Populations
Have you ever looked at a panhandler on a street corner and thought to yourself “get a job” or “druggie.” If you have, you are not alone. There is a negative stigma surrounding the homeless is hard pressed to be changed. Each year between 2 to 3 million people in the United States experience a period of homelessness (Families with Children & Homelessness, 2013). There are many reasons for one to become homeless and there are many different people who through unpreventable circumstances find themselves losing their grip on the very foundation of their lives. This can a be a terrifying time and may ...view middle of the document...

Social Problems and Issues Experienced
No demographic is free from social problems or issues. From runaway youth to the elderly there are a number of issues. For example, single mothers whether widowed or by choice of leaving an abusive relationship may end up in shelters with their children. These women face difficulties in shelter life due to harsh shelter rules. Some require all males, even children, be separated from the woman and therefore their mothers. Another obstacle mother’s face is some shelters require one leaves for up to 10 hours a day virtually eliminating any time to search for a job. Staff step in and override a mother’s authority in disciplining children. This can lead to children acting out and causing more stress on the mother. Some shelters only allow one to stay from one to 30 days meaning all too frequently children must pick up and move schools to be near his or her new shelter. Empowering clients by networking him or her into a wide range of support systems helping them move toward self-sufficiency remains a fundamental principle of the human services professional (Martin, 2007).
Poverty and destitution is not something reserved for certain people. It is not for the lazy or the unwilling. It is something that can happen to anyone at any time due to uncontrollable life circumstances. Homelessness can occur in the elderly, runaway youth, single parent families, single men, and veterans. Causes for homelessness range from more than just substance abuse and mental illness despite what stereotypes say. Some causes are shortages in affordable housing, a decrease in pay, oppression and discrimination, an increase in education requirements, history of abuse, and no family support. By federal definition there are an estimated 650,000 homeless individuals but when taken into account the amount of homeless persons who are not accounted for, that number jumps to around 3.5 million. The fastest growing segment is families with one-third to three-fourths of the entire homeless population consists of single mothers with children. A little less than 50 percent consists of males. Males fit into overlapping categories such as mental illness, veterans, substance abuse issues, or single (Martin, 2007). Another portion of the homeless population is runaway youth with as many as 2 million youths living on the streets; many of...

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