Homelessness is an enormous and complex humanitarian, social, and economic issue. Individuals who are homeless don’t just lack shelter but live without a support network. To effectively tackle homelessness, it’s essential to understand and address its root causes. Each person experiencing a homeless crisis has a story and circumstances that led to their situation.
How Big Is the Issue?
According to the Point-in-Time Count, an annual tally of those who live outside or in homeless shelters conducted the last ten days of January, more than 580,000 people experienced homelessness on a single night in January 2022. Although it only captures a few days and doesn’t record a genuinely accurate number, it provides a snapshot of the situation. But, unfortunately, the numbers can make it feel insurmountable.
The Root Causes of Homelessness
Documenting what contributed to a person’s homelessness is challenging, but substance abuse and mental illness are among the top causes of homelessness in the US.
- Substance Abuse
Substance abuse and homelessness are two intertwined issues. While it is difficult to determine which issue causes the other for an individual, studies have shown a significant correlation between the two, which is often a vicious cycle. Homelessness can also contribute to substance abuse by creating a stressful and unstable environment, leading individuals to turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.
- Mental Health
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, about 25% of homeless individuals in the United States have a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Additionally, over half of the people experiencing homelessness report experiencing mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. And people with mental health conditions are at a greater risk of experiencing homelessness.
Help Us Address the Root Causes of Homelessness
Homelessness has serious implications for public health, social welfare, and economic stability for everyone. Unfortunately, however, many attempts to address homelessness fail to take the root causes of homelessness into account.
The Vegas Stronger six-point plan to end homelessness goes beyond traditional and unsuccessful tactics to deal with the underlying causes of homelessness. Although focused on Las Vegas, the plan can be scaled nationally to enact real change by focusing efforts on the root causes rather than the symptom of homelessness.
- Increase Shelter Beds Available
- Provide Medical & Mental Health Treatment
- Provide Community Education for interacting and helping those experiencing homelessness
- HMIS Data collection to track progress
- New Legislation
- Specialty Court
Join our dedicated staff and supporters to go beyond traditional, unsuccessful tactics to end homelessness. Your donation can help our most vulnerable individuals reclaim their lives and contribute to society.