Kylyssa Shay was homeless for over a year in her youth; it lead to her activism involving homelessness. She thinks, feels, and has opinions.
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.
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.
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.
- Christianity and the Parental Rejection of LGBT Youth
Carl Siciliano talks about the link between religious rejection of lgbt youth and teens and those young adults becoming homeless. A well-worded call for compassion.
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.
- Health Care and Homelessness
The National Coalition for the Homeless examines the contribution of health care issues to the problem of homelessness.
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.
More Reasons and Causes
- Why Are People Homeless?
The National Coalition for the Homeless explains nine common contributors to the loss of housing.
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?
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?
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.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: Why would my 18 year old granddaughter choose homelessness so she could live with her boyfriend?
Answer: Perhaps her family won't allow your adult grandchild to date the man of her choice if she lives with them? Another common reason for young adults to choose homelessness over their parents' home is abuse, either physical, financial, or emotional.
© 2009 Kylyssa Shay
Share Your Thoughts on the Reasons People Lose Their Homes - Why Do People Become Homeless?
Dennis Mattson on July 24, 2020:
58 in Las Vegas, and homeless for 18 months after losing a very good paying casino job of 19 years..
Had worked full time since the day I turned 16.. So yes, it can happen to Anyone...
Has been a huge eye opening experience.. Seeing a side if life I never fathomed could exist.. So much Meth..
In my experience there is a Huge majority percentage that seem to make no effort to escape.. Panhandlers, shoplifters and the like just trying to get their next fix. People selling their ebt every month.. Numerous jail stints, criminal records.
Ive had a phone stolen, a bike stolen under threat of physical harm, etc..
Im one of a rare few that has ID.. Luckily I also have a car, and recently acquired assets now.. whew.
Im on good terms with the police since im not on drugs, and have no criminal record, thank god.. They actually check up me to see if im ok.
Had a job connection all lined up, then covid hit.. so im in limbo at the moment. But have never lost faith I'll pull through...
Biggest eye opener is you truly learn who really cares.. No family support, estranged older brother, former supposed good friends, coworkers, that completely shut you off.. amazing.
Luckily I do have one friend now letting me use their address, and have a smartphone, both which are truly godsends, along with my car, and ebt...
The shelters are horrifyingly scary places in this town..
Taking it one day at a time, and never losing hope are critical factors on escaping ..
I Will Survive, and get through this..
nolonwabo mazongolo on March 06, 2020:
i have never been homeless and i feel very sorry for people who are homeless, i wonder how they live in the cold street during winter seson.
Daniel Virgil on September 21, 2019:
In June this year, my dad kicked me out of his house, because he can't wait much longer for ke to get an apartment, and I had a hard time getting an apartment. Now I'm still homeless till I get the help I need and place to stay
Judy McClellan on January 13, 2019:
I have never been homeless. I live on a very low income and am 73 years old. I am on a lease till the end of this year. The new owners have already raised both my neighbors rent $100. They are in smaller houses than me. My house is a two bedroom and I have already been informed that they will be taking advantage of raising the rent and also will not be allowing any leases except month to month. I was lucky enough to have had a lease for three years as my old landlord said he would never be selling these places ever and that my rent would never be raised. I realize that people change their mind and consider myself lucky to have been able to get a lease. This time though I know my rent will be raised at least $150 which I cannot afford so I will be homeless. Every thing just keeps going up and up. I hardly ever turn on my a.c. in the summer or make use of a heater during the winter. I keep my bills really low. Even If I could afford the increase and it may be a lot more than $150 as 2 bedrooms are renting for $1300 in my area and that is just for the crudest of two bedrooms which is what my apartment is. Landlords are really taking advantage of these high rents. The result is that a lot of senior citizens on fixed incomes like myself will be homeless. Most people in my town blame the homeless for being homeless so I am really happy to read your article as I know 100% even before reading it that the homeless are not to blame for being homeless. All, I can do is adjust to the circumstances and try to survive the best way I can. After never experiencing homelessness, I have to admit I am terrified of being so exposed to so many dangerous possibilities. I wished more people would understand that the homeless are not to be blamed for being homeless. They could find out the real truth but most do not want to. Sad but true.
Henry Chinaskee on April 12, 2018:
Homeless guy here, been homeless for nine years now. It took me awhile to answer this question myself but I have come to the conclusion that the reason I became homeless is because I'm a businessman who's bad at math and consequently every business I have ever run has eventually gone bankrupt. But here's the funny thing. I am actually happier now than I was before I became homeless. No more stress ! The only thing I have to worry about every month is making enough money to pay the rent on a storage unit and post office box, food and coffee, laundry once a week, and re-ordering my contact lenses a few times a year. That's it. Believe me, don't believe me, I really don't care but this is a great way to live. Sure I miss not having a kitchen to cook in anymore and it kind of sucks having to take cold showers at the beach but you can get used to anything. I've even given up sitting in dive bars, haven't had so much as a beer in years. If you're not an alcoholic or a drug addict this can be a really fun alternative lifestyle. Just think - No more (or hardly any) bills !
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on January 03, 2018:
I'm sorry. That really sucks. Many people are homeless due to medical issues in America.
Kevin on January 03, 2018:
I never thought i would end up homeless until i got sick and had to live on a fixed income and in Massachusetts where i live rent is very high
C A from Enumclaw on October 23, 2017:
My mom died approximately 8 years ago. My oldest and youngest sisters were the executives. My youngest sister causes issues that made others fight and leave the family farm (our inheritance).
Besides the younger sister, I was the last inheritance to be living on the Family Farm and in January of this year the younger sister falsified a protection order and remove me off the premises. I've had to hire an attorney to get my mom's estate taken care of. 6000 in debt with him already and still no proceeds from the estate.
Between Couchsurfing and living in my car, I've been able to keep my job to this point. Although I've lost just about everything, all I have left is my car and my dog. Forced to sell or give away everything I have to keep what little bit I can.
Between January and now I've been on this crazy roller coaster, struggle to get by, then get knocked down even more over and over again. I'm at the point I dont trust ANYONE, everybody lies. NO ONE CARES.
At the end of this month (October) I'll be back out in my car again.
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on May 30, 2017:
I'm so sorry. I hope you find compassionate help soon.
Ann on May 29, 2017:
I'm about there. I am in the process of divorce from a sociopath . Who slept with my children and was prosecuted for voyurism and video taping them , not all that he did just what he was prosecuted for,,,,, everyone loves him cause he is such a. Nice person lies in court lost my home ,,, living with family who cannot deal with this and have live of there own .. I'm sixty one and have nowhere to go but my car.
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on May 31, 2015:
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 on May 30, 2015:
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 Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on August 28, 2014:
@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 on August 27, 2014:
Strong family and friends structure is one way to prevent this.
invictus95 on August 13, 2014:
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 on August 13, 2014:
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 on July 23, 2014:
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 on July 20, 2014:
Wow. This article made me feel bad about stereotyping homeless people.
beautifulgirl5 on July 12, 2014:
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 on June 14, 2014:
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 on June 09, 2014:
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
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on May 18, 2014:
@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.
grady1010 on May 18, 2014:
I've stayed wasted my whole life but always had a roof over my head. I had a skill and worked.
becky4914 on May 15, 2014:
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 family..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 on May 04, 2014:
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 Livingstone from Chilterns, UK. on April 06, 2014:
So many, many reasons.
BostonIrish LM on February 11, 2014:
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 Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on September 19, 2013:
@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 on September 18, 2013:
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 Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on August 31, 2013:
@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 on August 31, 2013:
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.
Hal Gall from Bloomington, IN on August 07, 2013:
It's a bit scary that more people than we realize are but a few paychecks away from losing everything.
CornellMarCom LM on July 13, 2013:
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 car....it is possible.
Paleruby on July 11, 2013:
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.
Lisa Marie Gabriel from United Kingdom on July 11, 2013:
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 on July 10, 2013:
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 on July 06, 2013:
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 on July 02, 2013:
Good insight the homeless problem and the many ways it can occur. Excellent lens!
PaulRyan on June 29, 2013:
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 on June 27, 2013:
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 on June 25, 2013:
@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 Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on June 24, 2013:
@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 Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on June 24, 2013:
@arobbertse0242: You have my sympathies. I hope your situation changes for the better soon.
anonymous on June 24, 2013:
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...............
Annemarie Robbertse from South Africa on June 24, 2013:
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 on June 22, 2013:
Once I was homeless, not really a good time. But'm back!!! Great lens about homeless!!
Mary Stephenson from California on June 20, 2013:
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 on June 20, 2013:
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 from Europe on June 20, 2013:
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.
Barb Martenson from Minnesota on May 13, 2013:
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 on April 21, 2013:
@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 on April 01, 2013:
@kimadagem: so veary wrong
Ash2013 on March 24, 2013:
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 on March 04, 2013:
@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 on February 18, 2013:
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 on February 15, 2013:
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 Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on December 07, 2012:
@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 on December 04, 2012:
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 on December 01, 2012:
Homelessness is caused by money, nothing more, nothing less. Remove money from the problem, and everyone will have a home.
oakstreet on November 29, 2012:
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 on November 23, 2012:
Misunderstood topic. Thanks for the lens.
Sam Montana from Colorado on November 23, 2012:
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 on November 22, 2012:
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 on November 20, 2012:
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 on November 06, 2012:
@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 on October 19, 2012:
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 on October 10, 2012:
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 on July 28, 2012:
@anonymous: Amen and ditto. I feel your pain.
anonymous on July 23, 2012:
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 on July 23, 2012:
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 on July 07, 2012:
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 drunk...my 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 help...it 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 Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on June 16, 2012:
@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 on June 15, 2012:
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 Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on June 06, 2012:
@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 on June 06, 2012:
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 Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on June 05, 2012:
@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 on June 05, 2012:
@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 on June 04, 2012:
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 Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on May 23, 2012:
@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 http://www.thetaskforce.org/reports_and_research/h... 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 Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on May 23, 2012:
@saneTV: There are almost as many reasons for homelessness as there are homeless people.
anonymous on May 21, 2012:
Very informative. Thank you.
anonymous on May 21, 2012:
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 on May 14, 2012:
@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 Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on May 11, 2012:
@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 on May 11, 2012:
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 on April 21, 2012:
Thank you for sharing this information!
saneTV on April 21, 2012:
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 on April 16, 2012:
No doubt that these are the most common reasons due to people become homelessness.
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on February 17, 2012:
@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 on February 17, 2012:
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 on February 13, 2012:
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 on February 04, 2012:
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.
Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on January 04, 2012:
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 on December 28, 2011:
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 on December 24, 2011:
Another work of excellence by you Kylyssa...you are doing a very important work with your combination of experience, social consciousness, and gifting for writing and teaching . Blessed
slappywalker on December 08, 2011:
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 on November 11, 2011:
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 on October 05, 2011:
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 on October 01, 2011:
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 on September 25, 2011:
@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.)