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Homelessness - Research Paper Example

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Homelessness as a Social Problem Homelessness is a social problem which is associated with numerous social problems. The challenges that the homeless people face in the society are mostly caused by illnesses due to poor housing facilities or coldness and overcrowding…
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Download file to see previous pages... Although poverty has been cited as the major cause of homelessness among the people, the reality is that poverty as a problem is not caused by nature. Apart from poverty, various other factors have been associated with the problem of homelessness. Sociologists have used three theoretical perspectives to explain the causes of homelessness in the society. According to sociologists, symbolic interaction, functionalism, and conflict theory are the major causal factors to the homelessness problem. This essay will analyse how sociologists articulate these theories to the problem of homelessness. It will also try to verify whether there are any efforts by the society in trying to address the problem and whether these efforts have been successful. Homelessness has been defined as the lack of regular and decent housing among individuals in a society or in some parts of the society. These factors that have been associated with mental illness, drug abuse, physical or sexual abuse as well as lack of money due to poverty. In giving solutions to these problems, sociologists have pointed out on the three sociological theories. Functionalist sociologists associate the complexity of the society with the problem of poverty and lack of finances to acquire proper housing. The functionalist approach compares the evolution of the society with that of an organism, combining all parts of that organism together to make it whole. They consider the society to have evolved through such processes, making the structures function together to achieve a common goal, which is developing together (Isajiw 38). The complex nature of the society has been associated with complexity of the institutions. Building blocks of the society in the view of these sociologists are the family as well as the clan. The clan is part of the larger society, and through relationships developed by the individual people in the society, the result is strong solidarity among these people. According to the theory, the significance of an individual is not is not vested in his or her individuality, but in the status that he has accorded to his own status, his opinion in social relation patterns and the kind of behaviours associated with that particular status. Relationships developed by these structures are supposed to be the pillars in which the society is built upon. As social institutions keep on developing, people are expected to be careful about one another. As the individual cares about other people in the family, the family cares about the clan. This is the essence of the society in which all people ought to be mindful of one another. However, this is not the case altogether. Isajiw (102) observes that people are increasingly being more independent from each other, breaking the structures already set by the rules of functionalism. With the increase in individualism, more people are becoming poor. There is little assistance accorded to the poor by the rich and the able people in the society. This has been as a result of the broken structures. The only attachment that is currently in existence in the society is the family, which is also breaking apart with time. This has increasingly alleviated the problems that people face in the society. Even the people who are supposed to be caring about their partners have grown apart, making the people poorer. The needs of the needy people increases, yet there are few available opportunities to solve them. Problems that lead to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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However, other researchers believe homelessness is much more complex and difficult to define. For example, Chamberlain and Mackenzie (1992) claim that there is also ‘secondary homelessness’ in which people reside in temporary accommodation such as emergency and refuge facilities.
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