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Some Reasons People Become Homeless

Updated on November 03, 2016
Kylyssa profile image

Kylyssa Shay was homeless for over a year in her youth; it lead to her activism involving homelessness. She thinks, feels, and has opinions.

Learn a few of the reasons people become homeless.
Learn a few of the reasons people become homeless. | Source

What Causes Homelessness? Maybe It Isn't What You Think.

Many people feel that all homeless people are entirely to blame for their own miserable situations. Those same people tend to believe that under no circumstance could they find themselves without a home because they feel they are better than "those people" who have lost their homes. In reality, people from all walks of life can wind up on the street and almost no one is immune from the possibility.

I want to present a few reasons actual people become homeless, reasons often beyond their control or ability to deal with. By doing so, I hope to increase empathy towards those less fortunate. This is by no means an exhaustive list; please do not be offended if you know of something not mentioned on this page.

Most people become homeless due to circumstances that have overwhelmed them combined with the lack of a family support structure. Others, particularly teens, often lose their housing due to an actively hostile, perhaps even hazardous, abusive, or non-supportive family environment.

Average people without a good friend and family support structure can be overwhelmed by events such as domestic abuse, divorce, unemployment, or illness and find themselves without housing as well. There are many causes of homelessness and while this page covers a few there are almost as many causes as there are people with nowhere to live. If you've ever wondered, "Why do people become homeless?" you've found the right place to learn some of the possible answers.

image by Przemyslaw Szczepanski, SXC
image by Przemyslaw Szczepanski, SXC

Lack of a Living Wage: Inadequate Wages Cause Homelessness

Many homeless people work. However, the minimum wage is often not up to the task of supporting a family.

In many areas, working full time for minimum wage does not earn enough to pay rent, utilities and food. While people can combine incomes to rent an apartment they often run into snags such as discovering that the number of working adults required to cover rent and bills combined with their minor children will exceed the number of occupants allowed by their lease. Additionally, many apartment complexes run credit checks which can prevent people with poor credit from renting; things like unpaid medical bills can prevent working people from finding a place to rent.

original photo by Ogre
original photo by Ogre

Parental Ideology

When parents' beliefs clash with teens' beliefs, sexual orientation, or behaviors this may result in teen homelessness.

While few will admit it, some parents only love their children conditionally and these parents may discard their children once they reach their teens. These parents hold their beliefs as more important than their own children. Often the beliefs in question are religious.

As many as 40% of homeless teenagers are lgbt (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered) when it is estimated that less than five percent of teens are gay, bisexual, or transgendered. In my experience with lgbt homeless teens and young adults, they've come from families that refused to accept them or that began to actively abuse them after their orientation became known.

Perhaps it was a coincidence, but almost all of the gay and bisexual teens and young adults without homes that I've met came from religious fundamentalist homes - fundamentalist Christian, Jewish, and Muslim homes - where their parents' beliefs were anathema to homosexuality or difference of any kind.

I also encountered teens living on the street whose problem stemmed from other religious differences. Some teens and young adults I met suffered homelessness because they were somehow at odds with their parents' beliefs. In one case, the teenager had converted to Christianity from Islam, in another a teen was suspected of engaging in pre-marital sex which was in conflict with her parents' religious beliefs. A number of Pagan teens that I met were expelled from their Christian homes.

Some of these young people were brutally beaten, threatened with death, or thrown from their homes by force. Others were systematically abused - physically and emotionally - until they ran from their abusers, preferring homelessness to continued abuse.

This subject is practically taboo, the relationship between parental beliefs and teen and young adult homelessness. In fact, after including the concept on a couple of pages, I have received threats, death threats, and hate mail. It is true that child abandonment and abuse are counter to what the vast majority of religious people hold dear. But it is also true that a minority of religious people have a different view. While that minority may seem inconsequential it is anything but inconsequential to around 400,000 American teens and young adults each year.

photo by Wojciech Wolak
photo by Wojciech Wolak

Physical Illness or Injury

Injury or illness can result in job loss and debt or inability to work.

Some people are on the streets due to injury or illness. Many of them had jobs and insurance but through the course of their medical problems, both were lost. Many people don't realize that even "good" medical insurance is not a guarantee of medical care. They are then devastated to find out that their insurance will not cover their medical expenses or treatment. They are also shocked when they lose their health insurance due to illness or injury.

Hospitalization quickly consumes savings and too many absences from work due to injury or illness will result in the loss of a job. Once a person has a significant gap in his or her employment history and a bad credit score due to unpaid bills it becomes much more difficult for him or her to get a job even when completely recovered.

People in all stages of recovery from illness or injury lose their homes. Some never get well due to lack of treatment and are too ill to hold down a job. Others get well but get pulled down by their medical debt and illness or injury related job loss. And increasingly, medical bankruptcy can result in homelessness.

While many people in situations like these have strong friend and family support structures, many do not. They are the ones who fall through the cracks and find themselves living on the street due to illness, injury, or the resultant medical bills.

It is my sincere hope that this reason for homelessness may disappear through effective health care reform. The health care bill that passed is not even close to what is needed. Medical bills are currently the leading cause of bankruptcy in America, and by a very large margin. Surprisingly, over half of those claiming medical bankruptcy either have or had medical insurance at the time their debt was incurred.

Lives Turned Upside Down: Homeless Children in Their Own Words and Photographs
Lives Turned Upside Down: Homeless Children in Their Own Words and Photographs

This book packs one of the biggest punches of any I've read on the topic of homelessness. Learn what children had to say about their homelessness. It cuts straight through any polite fictions or platitudes.

photo by Kat Jackson, SXC
photo by Kat Jackson, SXC

Sexual, Physical, and Emotional Abuse

Abuse can directly or indirectly result in the loss of housing.

Many of the homeless women, teens, and young adults I've met became so because they tried to escape an abusive situation. Some may argue that help is available but people in those situations might not have the access to such help or even know that it exists. Once they become lose their homes, those types of help often become completely inaccessible to them.

Women and teens subjected to sexual, emotional, or physical abuse are at particular risk for homelessness. Many of them also do not realize that running away from their abusive situation may just get them out of the frying pan and into the fire, exposing them to other types of abuse by different people while living on the street.

This is a major cause of homelessness, especially among teens and women. Sometimes people find themselves in domestic abuse situations so frightening they can think of nothing but getting away.

Domestic abuse can also cause its victims to be evicted from their apartments in some states wherein landlords are either allowed or required to evict tenants who have called police to respond to domestic abuse situations.

photo by Sanja Gjenero, SXC
photo by Sanja Gjenero, SXC

Developmental Disorders and Mental Illness

Without a sound family support structure, people with developmental disorders or mental illnesses may lose their housing.

Lack of family support is a major issue for people with disorders such as autism or other mental or emotional issues which make interpersonal relationships difficult. Once such people become teens or adults their families will often step away assuming that such problems evaporate or are cured with adulthood, sometimes resulting in homelessness.

With proper treatment some children with autism or other developmental disorders can go on to lead independent and productive lives. But proper treatment can be a rarity, especially in the American health care insurance system which categorizes treatment of psychological and psychiatric disorders as elective.

Many in the American culture also do not recognize the reality or seriousness of mental illness. Mental and emotional disorders are seen as character defects which anyone can get over without outside assistance by using their own willpower. The insurance based health care system encourages this view because if not required to pay for treatment for mental, developmental, and emotional illnesses and disorders insurance companies save millions if not billions of dollars. Some American religious subcultures such as Scientologists, some Christian Fundamentalists fringe groups, and splinter groups from Christianity and other religions also encourage this view to keep mental and emotional well-being under their control. Thankfully, these attitudes seem to be slowly disappearing in most mainstream belief systems.

But developmental disorders and mental illnesses are real and they don't go away magically upon adulthood. Treatment is required for people suffering from developmental disorders and mental illnesses, and even then, not all sufferers are capable of becoming completely independent.

I fell into this category, a young adult with Asperger's, PTSD, and other emotional illnesses - untreated and left on my own without a family support structure to assist me or for me to rely on.

Is Homelessness a Choice?

Many people believe homelessness is always the result of poor choices, that people choose to be mentally ill, to be physically ill or disabled, to lose their jobs, or to become addicted to drugs. I believe that it is rarely a choice. What do you think?

Do most people without homes choose to be homeless?

See results
Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) in America
Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) in America

Unless you are truly wealthy, it could happen to you. This book breaks the misconception that people can't slip right from the middle class into homelessness.

photo by Lychee
photo by Lychee

A Note on Substance Abuse

Not all are substance abusers nor did all of those who are start out that way.

The stereotypical view of homeless people is that they are all substance abusers and became homeless due to their addictions. While I grant that surely it must be so in some cases, I say that it is in no way universally true.

The misery of homelessness itself drives many people into addictive behaviors. Ask yourself how many sexual assaults, how many beatings, how many humiliations, or how many nights sleeping cold and in pain - with no hope of escape - it would take before you had a drink to get yourself through the night?

I was fortunate in that I never permanently lost hope of getting into a home with a locking door. I didn't become addicted to anything, in part because I was so obsessed with getting a locking door to hide behind that I even begrudged myself money spent on food much less spent on things like drugs or alcohol.

Others are not always so lucky. They fall into the additional trap of addiction and become chronically homeless.

Have You Ever Been Homeless?

Have you ever been homeless?

See results
photo by H Dominique Abed, SXC
photo by H Dominique Abed, SXC

There Are Many Causes

Everyone has a different story.

There are probably as many individual reasons people are homeless as there are people without homes. While I have not, by any means, listed all the reasons people become homeless it is my hope that I've illuminated a few that you hadn't considered before.

It is my hope that this lens has helped some to humanize people suffering in deep poverty in their own minds and to not blame them quite so much for their misfortune. It is my hope that you leave with the knowledge that the loss of a home is not just something that happens to addicts and bad people but that, in the wrong situation, it could happen to anyone.

© 2009 Kylyssa Shay


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    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 20 months ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      I understand the temptation to consider ending it all. I won't say it didn't cross my mind more than once while I was homeless and even when I felt I might become homeless again. Please let the temptation pass and focus on getting through each day.

      Please do contact the Department of Human Services in your area as well as any women's shelters nearby. If you look up your local food pantry, they may be able to refer you to other services because many of them keep lists of services for people going through rough times.

      Also, try again with family. I suggest you try younger family members if there are any. They may not have the resources to help you themselves but they'll likely be able to help you sort things out and they'll probably be less likely to condemn you for making a very human and very common mistake in the choice of a man.

    • Sad 20 months ago

      It happens fast you're in a nice home one day being evicted the next due to illness disability, mental disability is the worst even though I do all the right things I cannot get a job at 58. My husband stopped paying all the bills rent car so on . I can only hope to get some things in storage, I will probably loose all my furniture and most things because I cannot pay a mover, and I am97lbs, with no physical strength. I am very heartbroken. No family support, they blame me because I married that person. Thinking of living in my car, getting a po box, gym membership for showers........Because of my illness uncurable I am considering euthansia.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 2 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @londonremovals24: You are right. A lot of people think they have a strong family and friend support structure until it is tested. Unfortunately for teens and younger children, parents often hold too much power over their friend and family support structures.

    • londonremovals24 2 years ago

      Strong family and friends structure is one way to prevent this.

    • invictus95 2 years ago

      I saw a commercial supposedly promoting the governor touting the fact that there are around 7.8 million jobs in New York State, but they neglected the fact that the state has a population of 19.65 million people; numbers like that are bound to leave many people homeless regardless of their work ethic. I can't believe you received death threats over discussing teens who get kicked out of their house over parental ideologies, because that does happen and it's a very serious issue. I'm glad that you haven't stopped voicing your opinion over that! All of your points are well made. Nice lens.

    • cherfo60 2 years ago

      I'm experienced in this matter so I can truthfully tell you that much of homelessness is caused due to the high cost of rents these days. The process of trying to get an apartment is almost equal to that of buying a house (credit problems etc.). If you have ever been evicted chances are, no one will rent to you. Rents these days seem to cost as much as a mortgage and yet they call it "Fair Market Value", fair to whom, I'd like to know? What happened to rent control? Something definitely needs to be done as more and more families are ending up in the street. Our society seems to care more for homes and health of animals than they do for humans.

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 2 years ago

      You're doing a great service as a credible voice on homelessness. It's confusing and somewhat frustrating to see "them" on the streets, and to wonder who they are and how they got there. Are they addicts? Are they dangerous? What should I do? How can I help? You're answering so many questions that I think most people who haven't been homeless have swirling in their heads. Thank you.

    • hikukj 2 years ago

      Wow. This article made me feel bad about stereotyping homeless people.

    • beautifulgirl5 2 years ago

      As the economy gets worse, there are more cases of this, it's like a vicious cycle and it definitely brings on depression and mental illness. People don't have access to the medication and help/services and it gets worse. I definitely think it is more than an economic problem. many pople at the poverty line or almost at the poverty line worry about this daily.

    • ozyroz 2 years ago

      Locked out, abused, better out than in....alcoholic husband with twisted views, mind games etc.Family feel you have to punished because of choices carry on the abuse.....doors closed, hearts closed, minds closed until you are need for a while, doors closed, hearts closed, minds closed.Heartbreaking, understanding those who are and have been homeless opens my heart!

    • pat-rodriguez-581 2 years ago

      It is difficult for the HOMELESS to get out of their situation because the majority of those in society treats them like trash and show no compassion or christian love

    • grady1010 2 years ago

      I've stayed wasted my whole life but always had a roof over my head. I had a skill and worked.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 2 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @grady1010: I'd say that's pretty common. I would be willing to bet that most of the people I've met who were both addicted to something and without housing were suffering some kind of severe mental illnesses they were trying to self-medicate. I'm not a mental health professional or any other kind of medical professional but, in my opinion, many of the addicted folks I encountered had similar behaviors to the professionally diagnosed schizophrenics I worked with and a few didn't change much after going through treatment programs and getting off alcohol or other drugs. I think good mental health care would fix a lot of issues that cause such people to be homeless.

    • becky4914 2 years ago

      I lost my job, my credit, (now bad credit) Became I'll from the stress of it all. & hospital stays mounting medical bills. Age discrimination... No one...homeless shelters they are hard to get into, for single people. I don't fit in their category of drug alcohol abuse. I'm not battered, & I don't have minor children its truly all full to feel a sense of hopelessness.

    • eric888 2 years ago

      I spent a few months homeless , living in a field, then a few more in various cities in Southern California. I am a drug addict. Many times it was drug cravings and and addiction that led meback to the streets. Many times I feel the drug abuse helped keep me high enough to not commit suicide. I like your article, thanks.

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 2 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      So many, many reasons.

    • BostonIrish LM profile image

      BostonIrish LM 2 years ago

      I was a bakery manager and I started a program with a homeless shelter to do birthday parties for homeless children. How ironic that right now I find myself fearful of losing the home I have owned for 37 years because my husband was diagnosed with cancer and a month later I lost my job when the company I worked for closed all their stores in my state. I lost 2 brothers to cancer the last 2 years and a month before my husband's diagnosis, my sister was diagnosed with cancer as well. My son and his girlfriend also worked for the same company and although they have found jobs, they don't make anywhere near what a manager's salary is. Sometimes life just hits you hard with too many things at once. At my age finding a job is extremely hard and my 401k is just about gone. It can happen to ANYONE and if you're older it's much more difficult to hang on and make it work.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 3 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: Stay strong and share your story! Please either post the link to your journal or send it to me through my contact me button on my profile page (clicking my little photo will take you right to my profile page) because I'd be interested in reading and sharing it with my readers. Real life stories of people experiencing homelessness help people understand what it's like and change hearts and minds.I'm sorry you've had such problems and have not been treated well. I have to agree that fellow homeless people and fellow people living in poverty often seem to provide more and more compassionate help.

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      I believe that homelessness becomes of a person sometimes because of choice but mainly because there is no choice. I myself, a 40yrs old late mother with now a baby boy almost 5mths became homeless from the day I gave birth in the hospital. I had nowhere destined that was certain so a kind social worker encouraged me to go to the San Mateo County family shelter called, Innvision Shelter Network for families. It was a disaster from the moment I arrived there until I left only because I believe both my baby & I deserved as well as achieved the transitional apartment, it got worst from there on.To make a long story short, I have decided I will never return again to the shelter programs & would rather live in crowded homes that are not too comfortable or on the streets! Only we know that a baby should never be on the streets no matter how bad it gets so I would never do such thing and desperately ask friends or family.Anyway, because I was poorly mistreated along with others who felt the same as I. The other homeless people were more kind and supportive to my baby & I. Now, I am about to voice my story and find the right avenue to do it in order to inform the communities of what is going on behind closed doors of these shelter programs and staff who are not and should not be employed there! I have others who are willing to also have similar stories be told etc..They should not be getting away with things and mistreating or judging people because of their homelessness or situations.I will be writing a journal on my bad experiences and welcome anyone who was also mistreated or supports my story which is true.Lastly, the donators and heartfelt Samaritans who give abundantly and kindly... How do we as a community really know if what they give the shelters are always providing everything for the homeless or not?? We don't right? Other than visualizing some goods being donated & the money gifts?? Are the shelter staff being fair & using it like they should to help the needy?? Well we the homeless or regular people don't know for sure and maybe will never know but the communities need to hear my story and others.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 3 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: There are also people born into big families that disown them the second they experience financial difficulties. But the degree of help a person receives overcoming obstacles often does boil down to the circumstances one is born into such as the size and beliefs of one's family.Somewhere between 100,000 to 400,000 American kids become homeless each year simply due to being born into families that cannot accept their sexual orientations. Many of them would not experience homelessness if they'd just been born one door down or if their parents had attended a different church.

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      The whole being born into a big family is just not fair. I wasn't born into a big family, but I have a friend who was. She has many many people she can rely on. I have just one. I don't know why cards are handed out so unfairly. I know a guy who has messed his life up pretty bad through unwise decisions, but he has a big family to be there for him. He can't even support himself, but his family is bailing him out. I don't have that option. So much of life is not our choices but the hand we're dealt. I guess you do the best you can, but it's hard to keep a good attitude when you see how much of an advantage people have through no action or decision of their own. They just happen to be born with more options.

    • vineliner57 profile image

      Hal Gall 3 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      It's a bit scary that more people than we realize are but a few paychecks away from losing everything.

    • CornellMarCom LM profile image

      CornellMarCom LM 3 years ago

      Due to a terrible divorce, disgusting ex-wife, and a demon lawyer I was homeless for a short period. I know that it isn't something anyone chooses. I appreciate this lens. By the way...I am lucky enough to have built a nice career and found a wonderful wife and live in a very nice home and have a new is possible.

    • Paleruby 3 years ago

      I am not so arrogant to believe that I couldn't be that person on the street. But I have such a strong belief in myself that I cannot believe I would stay that way.

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      We are currently doing our best to help a friend who has become homeless. He defaulted on his mortgage, and despite finding a solution before the hearing, the judge said the Building Society could foreclose. He had only a week to get out and bailiffs came round and smashed up his crockery and personal possessions before the time was even up! It is an awful situation to be in, his parents are dead, he is estranged from his brother.... nowhere else to turn but friends. Nobody should condemn the homeless.

    • therebirth 3 years ago

      Homeless is getting a big issue in my place to,Italy cause of the "crise" a simple overused word that is supposed to justify almost evry problem in my country.Eventually i do believe that inner motivation, is the key point: no matter how desparate we are, there's Always a way to make that first step to recover from the homeless situation. I suggest the movie with Will Smith by Gabriele Muccino " la ricerca della felicit" " the seek of happiness".it's a story of a single jobless man,(Will Smith) that turn from poor and homeless to rich and happy. It's a very inspiring movie

    • Torrs13 3 years ago

      It's so sad that a single mother can work 60 hours a week on minimum wage and still not have enough money to support herself and her children. I've seen a lot of low-income families use check advance services, but they don't realize that the interest rate for using those services is horrendous. This leads to a lot of debt and problems, and maybe even homelessness because they can no longer afford their rent or utilities.

    • mcstacy profile image

      mcstacy 3 years ago

      Good insight the homeless problem and the many ways it can occur. Excellent lens!

    • PaulRyan 3 years ago

      One you missed out is veterans, people returning to civilian life from military service. In particular, those who are single are at highest risk. My dad works for a charity in the UK helping such people.I've known a lot of homeless people, but in fact some were "pseudo homeless". They have a roof over their head, benefits, meals, and extra money from begging and busking (in some cases made quite a lot). Professional begging isn't uncommon. This kind of stuff is unfortunate, as it skews the situation for the genuine homeless. This is where the care, attention and money needs to be diverted to.Anyway, an interesting lens.

    • fennirose 3 years ago

      Positive force of the mind will help you in getting out of being homeless. When a person have the strong will to recover from losing their homes, they can do that! It's just a matter of thinking that they can. Believe in the law of attraction and little will you know how your life moves up from time to time

    • LoriBeninger profile image

      LoriBeninger 3 years ago

      @Kylyssa: Interesting observation about families being able to pull themselves out of the situation faster than individuals -- lending even more credence to the importance of a "support" system. Beautiful and insightful lens, Kylyssa and a well-deserved Purple Star. Congratulations on your own success.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 3 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: I'm so sorry to hear this. People usually do get out of homelessness within a year and often much sooner. Families tend to get out sooner than individuals, discarded teens, or couples, in my experience. Stay safe and watch each others' backs. Thinking of you.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 3 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @arobbertse0242: You have my sympathies. I hope your situation changes for the better soon.

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      We are a family of 4 in California and had great paying jobs house 3 cars and husband got laid off and wound up on disability from previous injury and out of work for medical reasons. Wife went on disability from a car accident we had a couple years ago. She is trying to get back to work working part time after some time off. She is working part time still in pain. We are on public assistance also and have lived with a friend and now a family member and they both have and are kicking us out, so by sat we will be out on the streets. Reason for kicking us out is because we aren't progressing fast enough. What kind of family is that? We have injuries and dr notes/care and they don't understand that stuff could happen to anyone! We are now planning on being homeless in the car or somewhere. I have been told that it will turn around someday, we will see...............

    • arobbertse0242 profile image

      Annemarie Robbertse 3 years ago from South Africa

      Thank you for this lens. I am facing homeless-ness and I really do not know what I will do. I do not abuse any substance, have always gotten up when life handed me knocks and now I might not have a choice - other people are making the decisions. It is a sick situation.

    • Socialpro54 LM profile image

      Socialpro54 LM 3 years ago

      Once I was homeless, not really a good time. But'm back!!! Great lens about homeless!!

    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 3 years ago from California

      It is a scary subject. Anyone of us could find ourselves in the situation of not having a home and no option of even an easy fix. Everyday we should appreciate all that we have. I know that many of us would have an extremely hard time if we were in the situation of nothing more than the clothes on our back with zero support from anyone. I admire their bravery, as it really is for some an act of bravery.

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      I feel desperately sorry for those left homeless for reason mentioned. However working on the streets and hearing heartbroken parents who want their kids home makes me see another side. A parent who says NO to a child can have that child go out and live on the street and get Government support through lying to the powers that be. Those of you who judge and say the ones who have no options should be very careful that one day you or one of yours can end up in this position. It can happen to anyone. We chose to give up our home and live in a van travelling our country. Sick of years of handing over money and being ripped off. Now we move when and where we want. We worked for many years and now it is out turn. We too could who knows end up right where these people are. Some have no families. The ones who do and refuse help still do not deserve to be left cold. This is Australia fgs.

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 3 years ago from Europe

      We have a two shelters in our neighborhood. One for women and children escaping domestic violence, and one for 16-21 year olds whose parents cannot or will not take care of them, often because a parent is in prison, has drug or mental health problems, or has a new partner who doesn't want kids around. Without these shelters the residents would be on the street, or in intolerable living conditions. None of these people chose homelessness.

    • Barbie Martensson profile image

      Barbie Martensson 3 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your experiences and obviously your insight and pain following really trying to hold body and soul together, Kylyssa (beautiful name, by the way). I work for an organization that has two shelters (1 for women and children and 1 for men). We've tried to address many of the issues you address -- and they're valid. One thing we all possess is our testimony. Blessings on your writing. I enjoyed your money rose lens - fun and informative.

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      @anonymous: There are plenty of homes in America to house everybody. It makes me sick that money, arithmetic in people's heads, is causing so much suffering.

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      @kimadagem: so veary wrong

    • Ash2013 profile image

      Ash2013 3 years ago

      Homelessness is a very complex issue and it is often caused by a combination of many different factors, that can be internal or external to people.

    • kimadagem 3 years ago

      @anonymous: Anonymous: You probably won't see this because you're obviously not a Squidoo member but I'm going to say it anyway - You're a perfect example of the bad attitude and stereotypes people have about homelessness and homeless people. What surprises me is that you got all the way to the bottom of this lens and don't appear to have learned anything at all (maybe you didn't actually read it).Kylyssa - you've been there so I trust your judgment, and your experience. Thanks for putting up this lens.

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      Some people just give up on fighting in life and dealing with difficult situations and also I think it is a weak character to blame too.

    • Eric Mayo profile image

      Eric Mayo 3 years ago

      It is unfortunate that this country does not have affordable healthcare which includes access to mental health treatment. As middle class jobs are being outsourced, the middle class is quickly dwindling. The problem will get worse before it gets better.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: God may not be involved but religious beliefs are involved when they cause people to make decisions such as discarding their children due to their orientation. Over a quarter of American LGBT teens are abandoned by their parents when their orientation becomes known, by and large, due to parental religious beliefs.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Do not get religion involved. "God" cannot fire you out of a job, it is something you did wrong or the manager did an error. Some people do choose to be homeless because they either do not want to deal with money issues or because they just want to get away from problems but don't have money to be independent. Some do not choose since they do not have the money to support them or because they are afraid of responsibility.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Homelessness is caused by money, nothing more, nothing less. Remove money from the problem, and everyone will have a home.

    • oakstreet 4 years ago

      There are just always some people out on the street who needs help from us and your len encourage us to care more on those homeless people in our community. Great len.

    • OUTFOXprevention1 profile image

      OUTFOXprevention1 4 years ago

      Misunderstood topic. Thanks for the lens.

    • Sam Montana profile image

      Sam Montana 4 years ago

      The lack of decent wages in the US is becoming a major problem. The government says there are more jobs and or less people filing for unemployment benefits, maybe, but most jobs now are very low paying. $10 per hour or less is not a living wage, and that is what most retail jobs pay. Rents are also increasing as are utilities. The problem is getting worse not better.

    • cishemant 4 years ago

      Nice one!! I believe substance abuses and alcohol is the main reason behind homelessness, and people can get into sober living with the help of different halfway houses nearby.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I may become homeless very soon due to noise from my upstairs neighbors..they have no respect for others I have never been homeless but I lost my job 4 yrs ago and have looked for yrs to find an other but no luck and things don't look any better

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: actually it isn't. Pray to God and ask him to reveal himself to you and read the Bible blessings and pray and declare a better hope for your life. And the Bible isn't just things for the old times as it says in the Bible "I am the same yesterday, today and forever" this is stating that actually God is the same then so he can bless you like he did to the people in the Bible

    • mrsclaus411 profile image

      mrsclaus411 4 years ago

      A very heartwarming lens! Some people really don't understand why there are lot of people who are homeless and this lens is a great help for those who wants to understand the situations and maybe try to help some of them.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      It's God's will that I am homeless. I lost a good job last year and have applied for dozens of jobs and have gotten nowhere close to employment. Even applications for state government assistance have failed. Unemployment is clearly a death sentence handed down by an angry God.

    • justmelucy profile image

      justmelucy 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Amen and ditto. I feel your pain.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      My stepfather who I hate lost his job about 5 years ago, because the company went bankrupt. After that it was all downhill. My mother used to work before she became disabled, now we're waiting on her disability hearing next month. Hopefully she'll get it, she's been denied 3 times already. My sister who is so stupid actually quit her job, as if they aren't hard enough to come by. She starting working for some call center, but you only get by the month if you take calls, which she hasn't. So we're behind rent $900, owe $360 for electric, $400 for phone bills. We have 7 days to get out of a rinky dink old trailer. We have enough money to stay in the motel for about 8 days and we don't have a car. This is a small town, no homeless shelters for miles, no family to care. We just ask my aunt to let us stay in her car, she won't even allow that. I just wish I had a tent.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Our Family is about to become homeless. My wife and I both are college educated. I have worked my entire life and held some good paying positions. We had a house we could afford on one income. We have staved off homelessness and ruin for two years now. We are tired, we are depressed and my wife just lost her end of menial employment. My income the last two years will not make bills. It all started when the banking industry took us and walked away. I lost my job...and we have never been the same since

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I am homeless right now and found this blog by searching the key word "homeless" and I can say NO ONE knows when or if it could happen to them. For me it was several things all added together that have me homeless. No addictions. (not mine personally at least) The thing is, I was SO UNLIKELY 2 years ago to become homeless it has my head spinning and makes me contemplate suicide almost hourly. Is life really worth living when you have ABSOUTELY NO ONE who cares if you live or die? I was discarded by my family in my teens. My father was an abusive mother just didn't care and left me and my sibling and went on with her life. I remember calling her at 16 to "ask" if I could stay with her and the answer was NOPE. I'm a licensed tradesman too, but when you lose your home, you lose your property and in my case, my tools, and therefore my ability to even work. I was illegally evicted, but without ENOUGH money to hire lawyers and fight it there was nothing I could do. (I called and tried for free legal does not exist unless you're charged with a crime and a lawyer wants to make a name for themselves) I lost 30k worth of property and possessions (EVERYTHING I owned) due to this situation. They say everything happens for a reason and if I can manage to pull myself out of this depression and live, I will dedicate the rest of my life toward helping humans and animals who need a home. I was always naïve about this... You see the people who do choose to be homeless and they cast a bad shadow over those of us who aren't addicts or criminals. Churches and places say they help (and some may actually) but I called EVERY place possible and everyone turned their back. I am tecnically disabled, but I choose to deal with the pain and go to work rather than collecting a free check...and if I could have found help (even a loan or an advancement of legal help to keep my property) I wouldn't have ended up homeless. Bottom line is, there IS NO help. No job bank, no nothing. (I seek work ALL DAY EVERY DAY) All I needed was my tools and I would have been ok...but without anyone who cares about you it's tough. Thank god more people have a heart for animals than people and my poor 14 year old companion was able to find refuge with an ex/gf of mine. If he was put to death over MY problems, that probably would push me over the edge. I've heard of people committing crimes to get shelter, but I can't do that!!! I'm praying for some answer. I can't go to a shelter either, as I'd be a clear target. (All I own are kaikis and business clothes) It's hard to blend in on the streets, and bathing in fast food restaurant bathrooms is tough to do... I thank you for writing this story as maybe it'll shed some light on this taboo subject, and I apologize for not being consice in my writing, but it's tough to keep yourself mentally sharp when you haven't slept in a bed for 2 months or had longer than an hour or two of sleep at an interval. I'm in the unfortunate market of Detroit MI so if anyone knows of any resources or is willing to help (I NEED to help others less fortunate than myself) please reach out and make contact. I'm pretty sure my problem is temporary but THIS PROBLEM is here to stay and it's getting worse!! And to think some people are really splitting hairs over what percentage of their millions are going to taxes...LOL

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: Of course their parents don't condone their orientation! That's why they beat them up, threaten their lives, and throw them out. It's pretty clear the decision is fed by religious beliefs that value obedience to doctrine above familial responsibilities, laws, and humane behavior. My belief is that parents are obligated to not harm their children or put them in harm's way no matter what and that parents are also obligated to provide food, clothing, and shelter for their children until those children reach legal adulthood at age eighteen. It's also the law in America. If you loved your children completely, you'd never even consider throwing any of them into the street to be harmed on so many levels for any reason at all, ever. If you fully support throwing out 13-17 year old kids if they are suspected of being gay then you are part of the problem. The average homeless woman in America can expect to be raped by her eleventh day of homelessness. Knowing that and knowing how frequently homeless people are beaten and abused can you still support throwing a 13-17 year old teen out into the street due to your religious beliefs? It's really worth risking their lives and destroying their mental health, possibly for the rest of their lives, to satisfy your religious beliefs? Wouldn't it be better to continue to fulfill your moral and legal obligation to raise them until they are adults before you decide to discard them? You can still discard them after they are adults. Is it really OK for a teenager to face a consequence like rape because you disagree with his or her orientation? Also, I've encountered quite a few teens thrown out for being lgbtq who had not even acted on their desires. It is as if you were being discarded because you said you have the desire to slap idiots. At least one homeless teen I took in wasn't even gay despite his parents' belief that he was. Yes, if a parent throws his or her minor child out of the home it is clearly discrimination against that child. It shouldn't take a stretch of imagination to say that whenever a parent harms a child or fails to provide the basics for that child's survival that parent is either a criminal or unfit if not both. Unfortunately, the vast majority of criminal parents who throw away their children for not following their religious beliefs get away with it without punishment as long as the religion is mainstream. If a Muslim family threw out a teen for wanting to eat ham it might be a different story. The phenomenon of throwing out teens (frequently giving consequences as bad as rape and assault) for being gay looks just as ridiculous to me.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I do understand that LGBT teens and YA's can get discriminated against, but I wonder how many of those teens were told that although their parents loved them they wouldn't condone their lifestyle? There is division in the church about homosexuality and whether or not it's a sin. I can not say that I have studied the Bible in depth enough to make that call, but I can say that I don't believe it's God's original plan. Each person is born imperfect and it's up to us to choose differently than our nature desires. All this to say that although I love my kids completely and no matter how they live, I can not support a lifestyle that goes against God's plan. This goes for any lifestyle that is not in accordance with God's plan, heterosexual cohabitation included. So maybe some of these youth found their homes to be "discriminatory" but maybe in reality it's that their parents just didn't support their choices?I'm not saying that being LGBT is a choice, I'm saying that while their desires and preferences are not a choice, they are choosing to act on those desires. For me this includes any desires. I desire to slap idiots across the face, but I choose not to. I can see how a parent could be seen as discriminatory for not supporting their child's choices.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: That's a great question! Unfortunately, it's one I can't answer without a huge amount of research. I tend to only write about things or people I have had some degree of contact with or experience with. Since I have never met a person who was homeless/nomadic by choice, I wouldn't know how to go about finding one to ask much less the few hundred to few thousand such people I feel I'd need to talk to to make a somewhat accurate statement about them. I've had twenty-something (it depends on how you figure homelessness, several never were homeless but would have become homeless had I not let them stay with me) homeless people live with me over the years and I've interacted in person with several thousand homeless people over a period of over twenty years through volunteer work. So average homeless people are the only sort who I have had experience with. I'm too unwell to investigate it myself but if you were to choose to, I'd gladly be a sounding board. But I do have personal experience with the difference between being houseless and being homeless and I thank you for giving me a great topic to write on once I finish my current projects.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      What about writing an article about the difference between homelessness and being houseless!In my opinion is homelessness a feeling, you also hear about people with a house who don't fell home. For me means home security, family etc. If it wasn't there it would be an empty house and not a home! Houselessness referred to nomads is people who fells home on the street.Question: Why do nomads chose to live on the streets?!?!?

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: Actually, you were suggesting that a reason for homelessness should not be discussed, not just offering other reasons for homelessness. And kicking out children by putting religious beliefs before the welfare of your children is part of family breakdown. Offer all the reasons for homelessness you like but suggesting I not mention a reason because you feel it creates a stereotype won't make me remove the reason. It is a real reason and causes over a hundred thousand American teens and young adults to become homeless every year.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      @Kylyssa: I just quickly wanted to say that Im not sat here angry, just offering an opinion, I thought this was a discussion. And thought offering other reasons was allowed.

    • mariablack7 4 years ago

      The swindling economy certainly brought such situations where filing for bankruptcy was the only option to repay some of your other loans. Informative lens shared.thanks

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: The title of this page is SOME Reasons for homelessness. Nowhere have I stated that I've listed all reasons for homelessness. The reason that offends you isn't the only one listed on this page, nor is it even listed first. However, I've gotten death threats for even listing it. I'm pleased you are here because you are the first person to discuss it without either using profanity or making threats. I'd suggest you start by reading the PDF you can download at for a very detailed examination of lgbt youth homelessness. As to the survey, I did not conduct it. However, 100% of the lgbt homeless teens and young adults I took into my home over the years were kicked out of the home by their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) for sinning. Why not, instead of trying to deny belief systems that include discrimination against homosexual people exist, try to convince those who practice such systems that they are wrong? By telling me the people who practice discrimination against lgbt people due to their religious beliefs aren't good Christians you accomplish nothing. How about you tell them they are bad Christians instead? I never denied the existence of good Christians. If 25% or so of parents of lgbt kids kick them out that means that the majority, about 75%, do not kick out their gay children. Five out of the eight churches involved in the feed the homeless program REFUSED to discriminate against lgbt people so, it was another instance of MORE churches doing the right thing than the wrong thing. However, that doesn't mean the three other churches do not exist and that we ought to just agree to disagree with them. It seems to me that the Christians, the vast majority of them, who don't believe in discriminating against gays might want to try to do some outreach. Why not, instead of getting angry at me for mentioning they exist, try to bring some of these churches teaching bigotry against gays back to the fold of the Christianity that teaches love rather than fear and hate?

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @saneTV: There are almost as many reasons for homelessness as there are homeless people.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Very informative. Thank you.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I've been homeless more than once. So I know my situation and have seen a few others of other homeless people. If you can't find a job and have no way to pay rent and you either don't have family or your family kicks you out then you become homeless. We live in a society that values money and people with money. If you don't have money you don't have value. I've known lots of people with substance abuse issues, mental illness,etc and they didn't become homeless because they had money or someone to put up with them or both. But a lot of the people on the street have substance abuse issues and mental health problems and have no one to put up with them and either no money, no enough money, or a mismanagement of their money based on their problems. The shelters have limited space, are usually for men, and have strict rules. So that leaves everyone else out. The solutions are to value people over money, equity in hiring, living wages, and ways to live without money such as bringing back homesteading.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      @Kylyssa: How many people was your survey completed with? What type of research did you complete? Such as questionnaire ... Also where do you get your statistics from, bearing in mind that statistics are not always valid (contested its self)?Some churches may not serve gay people I agree, but some other charitable orginisations wont serve other minoritie groups (which is wrong in its self).And is it possible that these churches who pulled out were more of the extreme denominations?and as previously mentioned I'm sure religion does play a part in teen homelessness, but can't be responsible for it all. Other reasons for teen and youth homelessness are not discussed in the article at least not as in depth.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: Unfortunately, one in four glbt teens and young adults in America can expect to be kicked out of their homes. It is estimated that 20% to 40% of homeless teens and young adults are lgbtq. There are very few secular objections to being gay. Additionally, some religiously run charities will not serve gay people. In Kalamazoo Michigan, three out of eight churches running a program to feed homeless people pulled out because the other five churches refused to support anti-lgbtq legislation proposed in that city. Those three churches would rather all the homeless people served go hungry than have some gay people treated equally. The good news is that five of the eight churches refused to support anti-lgbtq legislation, meaning over half of the churches in that area do not accept or support discrimination against lgbtq people. Unfortunately, the other three still do. If one spends time with homeless lgbtq teens and youth, one soon learns that anti-gay religious beliefs play a major role in their homelessness. They also make it very difficult for lgbtq teens and youth to get any help from charities serving the homeless.With one in four gay teens getting thrown out of their homes in America, in what may be the single largest cause of teen homelessness in America aside from severe abuse, we can't exactly pretend it doesn't happen. If we point it out, peer pressure from empathetic religious people may even help to curb that type of child abandonment.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I think that the part about religious families being the reason for youth homelessness is kind of creating a stereotype around religious people. I think you'll find a lot of help is given from charitable organisations run by religious people. Not to mention that in most religions it is the belief that you should love all and treat all equally although this isn't always the case. I'm not denying the argument, just offering a counter argument. Having come from a religious family who would accept me whatever my religion, but experienced homelessness (sofa surfing) from family breakdown. In my experience youth homelessness is usually through family breakdown.

    • saneTV 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this information!

    • saneTV 4 years ago

      Abandonment by families, recently released from hospital (prison, another shelter), breakup of relationship, loss of income, illness, age, eviction, stranded while traveling, naivety in the young, victim of crime, mental illness, supportive programs cut or cancelled. THESE ARE NOT IN ANY ORDER.

    • williammdavis 4 years ago

      No doubt that these are the most common reasons due to people become homelessness.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: The question is perfectly fair and the answer is, no, most homeless people don't choose homelessness; they are just in over their heads. I put the word "most" into the question simply to derail the folks who have the stories about this homeless guy their sister's girlfriend's cousin knew who chose to be homeless and loves it. I've honestly never met a single homeless person who decided and then chose to become homeless on purpose. The question challenges the common American belief that homeless people choose to be homeless rather than just being people with serious money problems combined with other overwhelming circumstances, often including serious illness. It's also difficult for homeless shelter volunteers who are not social workers to turn away potentially dangerous people. I know it broke my heart. Illnesses, both mental mental and physical, play a huge role in homelessness in America and probably everywhere else. So many, many people don't seem to understand that a person can have all of his or her arms and legs and still be terribly ill. Since mentally ill people don't choose to be mentally ill any more than people with cancer don't choose to have cancer, being mentally ill is not a choice to be homeless.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Your voting poll question, "Do most homeless people choose to be homeless?" is not a fair question. There is no simple answer to homelessness as the article states. Life and society limit your options in various ways i.e., charity, shelters, and employment. Some of the hardest choices a social worker has is turn away a potentially mentally ill and dangerous homeless person which has been conditioned to violence in the environment at the risk of others in a shelter. There are many reasons society turns away assistance and it is mostly of out fear and lack of understanding an underlying illness.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I know for a fact that it takes all kinds of people to become homeless. Been there myself. It was a very complicated situation but mostly I was suffering mental illness at the time. I came out of it but if not for the help of a Catholic charity organization and a strict program with counseling, I could have ended up dead. I have a seizure disorder and without my meds it's dangerous for my life. Every case is unique and most organizations try to put people in categories like substance abuse, which in turn just makes things worse for the majority who are simply "lost". and a lot of the missions are just about preaching and bible thumping. Nuts. We need to treat homeless people like people and not statistics.

    • DIY Mary profile image

      DIY Mary 4 years ago

      Although I have never been homeless (for which I am very grateful!), I can really empathize with those who are. I can imagine that once you become entrapped in such a miserable situation, it must be extremely difficult to dig yourself out of the quagmire. Also, with the ridiculously high costs of medical bills and abysmal state of health insurance in this country, it is not hard to see how many people could fall on hard times ("medical bankruptcy", as you so aptly put it) to the point of ending up homeless.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      I know people who lost their homes because their drinking habits or laziness, but I know some just have bad luck. We can never be sure who's number will be called next... Keep the spirit!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Here in Atlanta, there are so many homeless men and women on the streets. The economy is awful here and the government has turned a blind eye. They stand on every corner here just doing odd jobs for any type of money.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Another work of excellence by you are doing a very important work with your combination of experience, social consciousness, and gifting for writing and teaching . Blessed

    • slappywalker 5 years ago

      Always found it interesting how close so many of us are to being homeless ourselves. If one or two paychecks are missed, quite a few of us could have trouble making ends meet.Good job illustrating some of the reasons people become homeless.

    • miaponzo 5 years ago

      Yes, it's a fine line between homed and homeless.. but becoming hopeless doesn't help.. Thanks for sharing this delicate issue with us. Blessed!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I love how you have raised this awareness about homelessness. I was a psychiatry resident and a lot of patients with substance abuse problems were judged and left on the streets when there was so much lying underneath. Thank you for educating us.

    • samsaradakini profile image

      samsaradakini 5 years ago

      I have *always* not trusted the response: "Most people choose to be homeless." Who CHOOSES to not have a place they can 'put their stuff' or a consistent place they can sleep at night w/o fear of rain, cold, violence? It never made sense. Yes, ultimately it is a choice. But not in the sense we equate Choice with Freedom.If the believer of that thought thinks the 12 year old getting molested by Dad at home is better off than being homeless, but the girl 'chooses' homeless, sure it's a choice; Want your heart cut out or your left foot cut off? Her Choice.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Debra, a hug. I guess you became homeless after you posted this and I hope you will read this, maybe at a library, or maybe in your new home. Been there, too, and I was just as scared and powerless - and am still shocked by the unbelievable cruelty of some people out there, the stunning inhumanity of them - but I also encountered many nice people, and the latter fills me with gratitude. Sounds like it's the same everywhere, largely. The masses think there is help everywhere, while in reality, there is next to none. Many people think we are "stupid" or anything else they are not. But they have to tell themselves that to reassure themselves, just like people say many things only as a way to reassure themselves that homelessness can "therefore" never happen to them.Like I said, I've been there, and then a wonderful thing happened, when people in other countries, several I didn't even really know, had never met or talked with, started helping me out and I was able to get off the streets again. (I am not in my own country.)And, the good thing about our age is that we don't have periods anymore, LOL. I imagine that having periods sucks big time when you're homeless! Anyway, I hope you'll encounter or have encountered enough good people to make a difference to you, if even if they only help put a smile on your face because that makes such a huge difference. You'll probably discover or have already discovered that many of them are not the ones who are "supposed" to help you. And that discovery may be worth a lot.(I tried to post from my Twitter account, but couldn't. I'll keep checking back.)

    • NZHarris 5 years ago

      You're very correct about medical bills. Medical bills are the number one reason most people file bankruptcy. Very well written lens!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I to have been homeless in the past. I bouced around from family to family member. I recently lost all of my personal belongings because my cousin kicked e out in the middle of winter with the clothes on my back and said I was not allowed to get the rest of my things. I spent 5 months living in a van prior to moving to cousins house. I refused to sleep in a shelter for fear of my own protection. Recently I had met someone, We hit it off we are currently living in a motor home in florida, and talking about getting a place to rent. Things are looking much better than they did one year ago for me.

    • AigulErali 5 years ago

      You bring out really important information. Thanks!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      My girls and I have been homeless since 2008, due to my illness. We are still homeless. Social Security has been amazingly cruel. For many years, I was told by doctor after doctor that the illness that I suffer from was "in my head" and "I was making things up for pain pills" and other mean things. Finally, near death in 2007 - I began getting some answers. One doctor heard me! All those years, I had (and still have) Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Typhus and Lyme Disease. I will never recover, because of all the medical abuse, all those years. And, I might add, all those years that I served peoples food with these infections. I gave blood, too. I was refused antibiotics, all those years. They would just throw antidepressants at me and tag my chart 'psychosomatic', and acted like I didn't deserve to live. These diseases (Lyme and it's co infections) are from bug bites. Many people have this. Nobody is listening and nobody cares. We have people dying in the streets, from diseases from a damn bug bite. By the way, this is usually preventable, when caught right away. I am mad as hell, and homeless with no end in sight. What a mean place we live in. Debbie Thompson, Pinellas County, Florida

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      i got an eviction notice i can't pay my rent lost my job due to an injury. i been looking but nothing is out there i am a 58 year old woman. and reality is biting me in the ass i am going to be homeless. and you have to be homeless loose everything. just to get help. why is there no place to prevent it. i have applied for ui benfits, one judge said yes one said no, going through, reconsideration for it. applied in april this june. i am so scare. and there is no one to talk to are to go to for help. i am so down right now so so down. i feel so helpless. why isn't there some one some place a person can turn too. why do i have to lose my place. i am an old woman a senior citizen in my city of minneapolis. i am going to loose all my belongings all my stuff. don't even have money for a storage unit.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      im homeless right now. my mom abused drugs never met my dad and my grampa is sick at age 92. my mom and grampa live together in a house with no electricity, no phone line, no tv or anything. they live off his social security in his home that wont pay for property tax and cover much than food for two people. he had a reeverse mortgage but its used all up. my mom is 63 doesn't work and is trying to help my grampa but they have a serious mold problem from a pipe breaking the house is no place to live. im a only child and now i can't get a job so i roam around trying to find a place to stay. i wish there were more outlets. i graudated high school, i attended some college and can't get a simple job as a waiter or cash register or anything. i got a car im about to sell for some money and i have nothing left. for people like me there should be more resources out there. i have chipped teeth and multiple cavities my teeth hurt, i search for food and help for a place to stay but can't afford security etc. hopefully things turn up but who knows at this route. my family needs my help and i can't do much for them or myself ugh. oh well just sharing my thoughts. i don't drink, do drugs and am a very caring, responsible person with limited resources and help to get me stable. oh well gotta keep a positive outlook. thanks for the good read it touched me because your very right. it wasn't a choice i just got hit with an overwhelming amount of issues that got backed up and now i can't manage them and ended up this way. BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE! Anyway thanks for reading this if you did! Glad I could share my feelings! If u want to chat send me an email Im in NJ fyi and hers my email irishboy1983@gmail

    • DuaneJ profile image

      DuaneJ 5 years ago

      great lens!

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this to us. It makes us aware that we ourselves are not immune to homelessness. Sundae ;-)

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 5 years ago from Vermont

      Visiting this neighborhood and rediscovering your fine work ... so much in this lens needs to be lifted into greater visibility. Hope my blessing helps. Peace to you, Kylyssa.

    • cocojambo2 5 years ago

      Your work is very good and I appreciate you and hopping for some more informative posts. Thank you for sharing great information to us. Chapter 7 bankruptcy

    • Puckwudgie profile image

      Puckwudgie 5 years ago

      When my husband's co-workers look down on poor people and the homeless, he reminds them that they are just one paycheck away from being poverty-stricken themselves. They don't like being reminded that they really are no better than anyone else. Personally, I've been in enough scary situations that I don't take anything for granted. (BTW, one of our kids has Asperger's, so I can empathize.)

    • nuestraherencia profile image

      nuestraherencia 5 years ago

      Your lens really struck a cord with me. My husband and I used to live very well...that was until my son was diagnosed with autism. We had two choices...wait for schools to pay for therapies, doctors, etc...or just spend our savings. We chose to spend our savings. Thankfully, our son is a different child just 4yrs later...sadly, that also meant I had to quit my job of 20yrs where I made a very good income to take my son to appointments, tests, well as there was nobody we could afford to watch him during the summer months while school was out (daycare would not take him). We have been very close to being homeless after living very well for over 12yrs. Our life has been turned upside down, but we have never taken a cent from the government in order to survive...we just continue to find ways to cut our budget...and I continue to find a way to make extra money from home so that I can continue homeschooling because my son was constantly harassed and abused at school. Thank you for bringing light to something that many really don't know about. I wish you the best of for anyone with asperger's, my favorite forum is might want to check it out...

    • BetterHealthCoverageOptions 5 years ago

      Thanks for opening my eyes to the facts as sad as they might be.

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 5 years ago from Scotland

      I know I have read this before, I came back to say hello! as I like this lens of yours, thankyou for your kind words and support! and yes I was homeless at 16....must really write about that as it was a scary time!

    • DonMcCyclist1 5 years ago

      I came on your lens on reasons for homelessness looking for some lenses to include in the discovery module for one of my own. I'm grateful there's a lens master with your experience and point of view on homelessness willing to publish it. I feel proud of what you've achieved on squidoo!

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 6 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @javr: Sadly, those who choose homelessness or fake homelessness are the most visible to society, especially the latter because they mean to be noticed. Since people usually see those folks as representative of homeless people it makes it incredibly tough to get people to care about homeless people, even homeless children.

    • lynnericci 6 years ago

      Bless your heart. Your thought provoking caring heart comes through so loud and clear. My brother married a gal with a lot of money and since then he has been too good for our family. We have never been homeless but we could have been but for the grace of God. We struggle and I worry should I get sick what will happen to us. Good article to tuck under your belt.

    • javr profile image

      javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You have a unique insight that you are sharing with your great lenses. I have been educated by them. Unfortunately, there are people who choose to be homeless or who fake homelessness. They must make it even harder for the truly downtrodden people to get by.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      Another wonderful and thought provoking lens. Hopefully it will help you with your quest to end homelessness in America.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      Another great lens,though very sad. I was left at one time like you,with no family left to support or help me.I had a stroke and finally started receiving help from a social worker in the hospital. Having already lived through cancer,this was traumatic. Thank you for this lens. Blessed by a Squidoo Angel on 12/21/2010. God Bless You.

    • sugunalinus 6 years ago

      Really touching. More of such could eventually change the world.

    • ZazzleEnchante 6 years ago

      A thought provoking, well written lens made all the more richer through author's own experience. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      i am currently writing a research paper on people who are homeless. this definitely touched my heart and gave me a deeper understanding of people who endure such tragedies. i feel we must open our hearts to those in need. god bless and goodluck to you! thank you for writing this.

    • huvalbd 6 years ago

      Your lenses on this general topic are all superb

    • howtocurecancer profile image

      howtocurecancer 6 years ago

      Great lens, very touching. It is a cruel reality, I am helping homelessnes as much as I can with hot meals, clothes.

    • JakTraks profile image

      Jacqueline Marshall 6 years ago from Chicago area

      Great information. Because many states (like Illinois) are spending less to support the mentally ill, I worry homelessness will increase.

    • WebIsFun profile image

      WebIsFun 6 years ago

      wow. Thank you for the education! Though I knew some of the reasons, I didn't know so many. Hopefully, it will help me be more compassionate

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You did a wonderful job in portraying your message ~ **Blessed by a Squid-Angel and featured on Squid Angel Blessings by AJ**

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      Being disabled since I was 26, there were many years where my saying was,"I'm just a step away from a cardboard box". I think that it is only my stubborn determination and pride that has kept me from it but I can certainly understand how easy it can be to lose everything....great article.

    • WorldVisionary3 profile image

      WorldVisionary3 6 years ago

      Thanks for shedding light on this topic.

    • atirial profile image

      atirial 6 years ago

      An excellent lens on a difficult subject.

    • Christene-S profile image

      Christene-S 6 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • VJYoung profile image

      VJYoung 6 years ago

      It is my understanding that many homeless people are mentally ill. I do not agree that this is so because their parents have not given them the support they need. Our U.S. system of laws often does not allow parents to help in a practical way.

    • starlitparlit profile image

      starlitparlit 6 years ago

      I absolutely love your lens. Me and my husband found ourselves homeless about 7 years ago when our home burned down. Great information here. At least people will know that it isn't a choice to be homeless.

    • dustytoes profile image

      dustytoes 6 years ago

      Many people do have great family support systems and therefore don't believe it can ever happen to them. And many suffer from a great lack of compassion when it comes to homeless people because of it.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      I'm glad that you made this lens. So many people are quick to say that homeless people are in that state because they screwed up. There are so many more factors that people don't think of. Last year, my job cut my paycheck and I ended up losing a really nice apartment. Luckily for me, my boyfriend, of almost five years, had found a nicer apartment and had wanted me to live with him. If he didn't let me move in with him, I would've been homeless. I eventually got laid off from this job. I'm looking for a new job and I'm waiting for unemployment until I get a job. Even though I'm an atheist, I thank my boyfriend for not letting me be homeless.

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 7 years ago from PA

      Wow! Excellent lens. Thanks for getting the word out about this issue.

    • JennySui 7 years ago

      You have written this lens on a very good topic. nicely done. 5 Stars for you..

    • abcs123s 7 years ago

      I never knew how important it could be to have a supportive family until I realized I needed the support that I never knew of.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 7 years ago

      People who are not in the situation are quick to judge but when faced with the same predicament they too will realize that becoming a homeless is not entirely a person's fault. There are environmental factors that push a person to become one. Great lens!Will tweet this! Visit my lens as well if you got time. Thanks

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 7 years ago from Lancaster PA

      Do not forget--medical bankruptcy is another big reason due to health insurance that frankly, s***ks. Did an angel just say that??####blessed####

    • CrypticFragment1 profile image

      Tammy Winand 7 years ago from McleodGanj HP India

      homeslessness...tricky wordwhile I've never lived in a homeless shelter or on the street, I am (and long have been) technically homelessafter an abusive relationship, I spent a few months in an apartment provided by a domestic violence group...unable to find steady work, I started living in hotel rooms, youth hostels and later in housing provided by a variety of seasonal jobsI am about to spend the next 5 months overseas because, believe it or not, living where I'm going (India) costs less (including airfare) than trying to rent a hotel room or hostel unit in the USA for an equal amt of timeYou can't get an apt w/o a stable job, and when you can't get a full time job...well, what else can you do?

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      This is an excellent lens which conveys some important messages. Blessed by a SquidAngel

    • LairMistress profile image

      Karen I Olsen 7 years ago from Seattle, WA USA

      Hello from Seattle, and thanks for writing this! I was briefly homeless in September 2000. I had two part-time jobs, but I could not keep up with annual rent increases; my landlord was friendly, but he could only work with me for so long (I really didn't blame him, to be honest). I was very fortunate in that my current affordable-housing apartment opened up in less than a month; I spent most of that month in a friend's guest room, along with a couple of stints on the "hotel floor" of the local YWCA for 3-4 nights at a time. I guess I had it easier than a lot of folks in a homeless situation (I had a lot of friends and other ties in the community); still, it is rather disorienting to live a bit like a tourist in one's own hometown...Thanks again,Karen Olsen (aka LairMistress)

    • lovebrownchimp 7 years ago

      Worked with the homeless for 23 years. It can happen o anyone.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 7 years ago

      This is a sensible topic, Kylyssa but you covered it as you usually do, exposing facts and showing your heart. You did a great job, once again!Needless to say that I gave you 5 ***** for such a splendid lens.Dom.

    • sciencefictionn profile image

      sciencefictionn 7 years ago

      Beautiful, interesting and complete lens, emotionally involving. A serious social problem.I top rated and favorited your lens.

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 7 years ago

      Another great lens. I live in San Francisco which has a very large homeless population, many of whom suffer from severe mental and physical health problems. Many others are people who used to have jobs and homes, but who lacked family and community support when tough times hit. The idea that homeless folks choose their situation because it's more fun than having a job, a roof, and knowing where their next meal is coming from is ludicrous. Thanks for giving lie to that stereotype.

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