There are too many homeless people; the government is not helping, and there are
not enough shelters. Today there are some thirty thousand children living on the
streets of New York City. With this many homeless children on the streets, the
government should be helping more by building more shelters. The government is
not helping in the building of shelters, so the people of our country must help.
"A federal takeover of the homelessness problem, with gushing federal
dollars ... will do little to help" (Berne 100). "(The) Government
creates homelessness and shelter dependency when it provides too little money
even to pay the rent" (Rossi 106). The government needs to help the
homeless people so they (the homeless) can get off the streets. Today, the
homeless shelters that we do have in this country are filling up very quickly
and forcing those not lucky enough to be in one to live on the streets.
"The shelter system does little to reduce either sources of homelessness or
equip the homeless to achieve independence" (Hoch and Slayton 123).
"The problem is not too few houses - rather, it is too much
government" (Mehrten 156). This saying means that there are houses but the
government will not provide funding for them. The problem of homelessness is not
strictly a United States problem, but is a major problem throughout the world.

All governments, not just the United States government, need to become more
active in taking care of this problem. A beginning would be the funding of more
shelters throughout the world. More shelters would mean less homeless on the
streets. Who are the homeless? The homeless in this discussion include people
who are on skid row (most of who are men), the mentally handicapped who have
been discharged from mental institutions before they are ready and any person
who does not have a regular site for shelter. The newest population among the
homeless are children, women, the elderly and whole families. Skid-row
alcoholics account for only about twenty percent of our nation's homeless.

Patient discharged from a mental institution, also known as the mentally ill,
have had a tremendous influence on the numbers of the homeless. In the past two
thousand community mental health centers have been proposed, but of these only
eight hundred have ever been funded. People who are among the ranks of the
unemployed are the newest members of the homeless. Without employment they are
unable to provide a permanent shelter for themselves and so enter the world of
the homeless. Two million people under the age of twenty-one make up another new
part of the homeless. Many are homeless by choice, because they have run away
from home while others have simply been forced out of their homes. Still others
have outgrown the foster care system that we have in our county. Very young
children, under the age of ten, are homeless because their families are
homeless. Women make up approximately twenty to twenty-seven percent of our
nation's homeless population. There are many factors that lead to women becoming
homeless. These include the loss of inexpensive housing, spousal abuse, and
economic hardship from sex and age discrimination. The homeless family is mainly
comprised of a woman alone and two to three children. Some homeless families may
include a father figure but they are few. Most families become homeless from
loss of their homes either through fire, eviction or the escaping of an abusive
environment. Many homeless children are poorly nourished, clothed and educated.

Elderly homeless are perhaps less noticeable in our society than other homeless
individuals. Many elderly homeless are ashamed to ask for help as they have
always managed to take care of themselves. For an elderly person to be in the
homeless position can be especially demeaning for them. Social groups working
with the elderly homeless base this group on the homeless who are fifty-five
years of age or older. There are too many homeless people; the government is not
helping, and there are not enough shelters. Homelessness is a major problem not
only in our country but throughout the entire world. Evidently the government
has tried to help in the past, but either their help is not working or it is
just not enough. Maybe our government really needs to go into our society and
see just how extensive the problem of homelessness is and how it affects our
society. More shelters need to be built but more than shelters have to be built.

Our nation's government needs to establish programs that will actually help
solve the homeless problem. The building of more shelters would