Eradicating Homelessness: Helping Individuals Get Back on Their Feet

Homelessness has affected men, women, and children of all ethnicities and races. There are hundreds of thousands of homeless people in the United States, out of which around one-third are families. Homelessness is a state in which the affected people lack a permanent, fixed, and secured residency. Some of these individuals live on the streets while others bounce back and forth between shared shelters, abandoned buildings, and even vehicles.

Due to an absolute lack of necessary resources and protection, homeless individuals, especially children, are more likely to become sick, have elevated hospitalization rates, and are at a greater risk of dying young. Children suffering from homelessness often face health deterioration along with academic and behavioral issues. A well-articulated career development program for homeless can help these individuals get back on their feet and have a stable and secure livelihood.

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Causes of Homelessness

Lack of affordable housing and inadequate income are the primary reasons for homelessness. Natural disasters also force families into homelessness. Some of the major causes of homelessness include lack of reasonable housing, poverty, unemployment, and low wages. Complex medical and psychiatric conditions, aggravated by alcohol and substance abuse, alongside the extensive social and economic issues make this particular subgroup of the homeless population a true challenge for the healthcare providers, government, as well as the local communities.

Identifying and Assessing Needs

Around 1.2 million children under the age of 6 experience homeless in the United States each year. Early care providers, educational programs, and career development programs for the homeless help the families with young children who are either experiencing homelessness or at risk of developing it in near future. They play an essential role in identifying, supporting, and linking these individuals with the resources that can keep them well and healthy. There are many different programs that help in the identification of families who are more susceptible to homelessness so that you can support them in different capacities.

Effect of Homelessness on Children’s Wellness and Health

Children suffering from homelessness are subjected to many health challenges as a result of a lack of regular and proper health care, insufficient nutrition or access to food, trauma, distorted family dynamics, and education disruptions. Children who are experiencing homelessness are twice as more likely to get sick as compared to those who have homes. Homelessness also leads to the development of learning disabilities in children as well as a three folds rate of behavioral and emotional problems.

Students Experiencing Homelessness

It is challenging enough for a child or adolescent to go through the developmental transformations while keeping up with strict timetables. Adding homelessness into the picture makes the road to success full of barricades. Students experiencing homelessness usually have elevated stress levels due to their unstable circumstances. This can lead to emotional and behavioral problems in schools. As a result of this transience, students might also have a difficult time connecting with friends and building healthy relationships.

Career Counseling and Programs for Homeless Students

School counselors must devise ways to identify how to incorporate career counseling to help students who are experiencing homelessness. The approach to career preparation and preparedness with homeless students might differ from that of the students who have permanent residence. This involves informing families and students about pathways to achieve their goals, informing and preparing them for post-secondary opportunities, and providing guidance and support to the students.

Students experiencing homelessness often experience unique challenges concerning their career and college planning. For example, they have a difficult time accessing important information about the college as most resources for college and career planning need a laptop or a smartphone with functioning internet. Depending on the individual situation, a lack of access to technology can create a major barrier for homeless students. Counselors can help by providing specific information concerning career opportunities and pathways to achieve the desired goals. Such important information can be shared at different levels of education via individual, classroom, or group sessions as well as through the distribution of useful printed sources to empower the otherwise uninformed students.  

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