Social class in society, those who fall in the underclass are referred to as the poor. They typically live in areas with high rates of poverty and few opportunities to Improve their lives. But what about those who have less than the lower class. There Is d rising population of people who have lost everything and therefore must take shelter In the local parks, abandoned buildings, overpasses, and any other form of protecuon against the elements (Schutt, 201 1 | Homelessness Is a social problem affecting our nauon, which can only continue to grow If society does not make a hange.
Eltzen, Zinn, and smith (2011) define a social problem as Inducing material or psychic suffering for certain segments of the population; there are sociocultural phenomena that preventa significant number of societal participants from developing and using their full potential; and there are discrepancies between what a country such as the united states Is supposed to stand for (equality and and democracy) and the actual living conditions In which many ot its people live (PS). The population ot those who are homeless is difficult to specifically identity.
Many are otten huddled in small areas and do not travel tar trom a location, but others may travel trom region to region causing the numbers to be skewed. Sacramento, Calitornia has many local and nationally run organizations and businesses dedicated to assisting those who have fallen on hard times. One organization particularly has provided many opportunities to not only provide assistance to the local homeless population, but also worked with local and statewide policy makers to reduce the rates of homelessness in the region. Sacramento Steps Forward (SSF) is more than just a food bank.
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Providing both temporary and permanent housing for adults and families with children, providing access to employee training, and also advocating for community support are some of the services they do (SacramentoStepsForward, 2013). Sacramento Steps Forward also monitors and evaluates the services provided to those in need in order to ensure the diverse needs of Individuals experiencing homelessness are met _ They have created the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) which Is an electronic database used to store characteristic service needs Information of Individuals experiencing homelessness.
Each year Sacramento Steps Forward conducts a Point- In-Time count of individuals on the streets in order to determine the number of homeless In the Sacramento region (SacramentostepsForward, 2013). The staff and volunteers take to the streets for one night throughout the Sacramento region to talk to Individuals experiencing homelessness In an effort to gather demographic and living condltlon data. using HMIS will help us to provide an accurate and more consistent representation of our regions homeless population.
According to the ssF website, "overall, homelessness In our (Sacramento) region Is on the decline. However, we have seen a staggenng 41. 5% Increase In one population-tamlly homelessness. " The youth and young adults ages 14-24 make up nearly ot the total population experiencing homelessness in the Sacramento area (SSF, 2013). negative perception that follows the stigmas associated with being homeless can lead to social rejection for many individuals.
When we look at people who are still in their teenage years, and are not fully developed mentally, these stigmas can lead the individual to follow the person-blame approach. The homeless are to be blamed for heir own living conditions because if they were to Just get a Job, then they would not be where they are. People are generally afraid of what they do not know. The economic elite and powerful who live in the upper class are not exposed to people who are homeless as often as those who belong to the lower-class of structured societies.
It is easy for people who belong to the economic elite to look down on those who are homeless as view them as inferior. Since the effects of homelessness may only catch their attention when they are driving on their way into work and see a man on the corner with a cardboard sign. Those in the upper class are less likely to be as tolerable towards these individuals. There opinions would lean on the side of the person-blame approach of attribution.
When we consider that the majority of Americans live in the lower and middle class levels of society, the likelihood of acceptance for those who are homeless can be greater since they have more exposure in their communities to the homeless population. Individual interpretations suggest that homelessness is the result of personal deficiencies, such as substance abuse and social disaffiliation, whereas structural interpretations uggest that it is the result of systemic factors, such as lack of affordable housing and employment opportunities (Cronely, 2010).
The lower class beliefs of homelessness can be directed towards the system-blame approach, feeling that the individuals are where they are as a result of a flaw in society. People who consider homelessness a structural problem are more likely to favor government action than those believing in individualistic causes (Lee, Lewis, & Jones, 1992). When analyzing homelessness, we can also use the sociological imagination. C Wright Mills describes the sociological magination as awareness of the relationship between an individual and the wider society (Eitzen, Zinn, & Smith, 2011, p. ). The sociological imagination allows us to look beyond our limited experiences and knowledge in order to see the world and it's people how they really are. Few people are willing to try to understand what the lives are like for individuals who are homeless. The people who are willing and able to help are limited in the resources available to them. Food banks are open and supported to provide a meal for the individuals and families that are homeless, but ewer Job assistance and training programs are available.
The homeless will be kept alive with minimal meals, but little else is available to assist in the change of their conditions. Food banks serve a valuable purpose in keeping those in need alive, Society is only sustaining them by giving a little when what they truly need is teaching, coaching, and counseling on how to become a contributing member to society, and not someone tagged with a social stigma or considered deviant. One way to remedy the problem is reduce the economic inequality that exists in society.
The tax breaks for the powerful which do not get redistributed to state funding are hindering the full potential that organizations like Sacramento Steps Forward are truly capable of achieving. By challenging the current social order and demanding the redistribution of wealth from the elite to the lower classes is one way to ease the homelessness is to offer and provide more counseling to those who may have a mental disorder and/or a drug problem. The longer that a stigma of deviant, loser, hopeless, and homeless are attached to an individual, the less self-confident that erson may become.
Being treated like an animal that do not deserve to belong toa society can do mental and emotional damage that could leave damage that a trained professional may be required to assist that person. Experiences of homelessness negatively affect people's sense of identity to destructive proportions. Experiences of homelessness may have profound effects upon people's sense of identity both personally and socially (Williams ; Stickley, 2011). Homelessness is a social problem affecting our nation, which can only continue to grow if society does not make a change.
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Homelessness in Sacramento. (2018, Jul 21). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/homelessness-in-sacramento/
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