Poverty

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Poverty

"Approximately one-fifth of the worlds
population, over one billion people, earns less than one dollar a day"
(Readings on Poverty). Living in today's society, as unpalatable as it
may be, it is succinct that homelessness, hunger, lack of work, and illiteracy
are direct effects of destituity among people today. As a result, this
causes people to struggle throughout their lives. Nectar in a Sieve, a
compelling story about a destitute family by Kamala Markandaya, illustrates
powerful examples of results from the limited options in India. After reading
this novel, and examining how poverty effects the world, I am now cognizant
about how great of an effect poverty has on millions of people today.

Homelessness, a ubiquitous problem in the
world, is a murky road to ultimate despair. There are many different reasons
for homelessness, but there are a few well-traveled paths to destitution;

Mental illness, lack of affordable housing, family breakdown, and alcoholism
are all factors. A chilling fact, from any point of view, is that small
children have become the fastest-growing sector of homelessness. "The average
homeless family includes a parent with two or three children. The average
child is six years old, the average parent twenty-seven" (Orr 29). This
may seem unreal, but in Massachusetts alone, three fourths of all homeless
people are now children and their parents.

Today, the chronically and severely mentally
ill are not proficient at coping with the stresses of this world. They
are vulnerable to eviction from their living arrangements, mostly because
of the stress of dealing with various problems such as landlord situations.

Many tend to drift away from their families and will loose all goals in
their life.

"Once the mentally ill are out on their
own, they will more than likely stop taking their medications and after
a while will lose touch with the Social Security Administration and will
no longer be able to receive their Supplemental Security Income checks"
(58).

Because of their poor judgment and disarray,
they will fail to notify anyone and could end up on the streets, where
the effects of drugs and alcohol will lead into further serious complications.

Once at this stage, they can no longer look after themselves, and the only
way of being succored from this lifestyle is from acting in a bizarre or
disruptive manner, which will lead to being taken to a jail or hospital.

"The most important thing in every man's life is shelter, once you have
shelter, then you are able to get yourself together..." (Hope 183). It's
necessary to get into a shelter or the result could be the downfall of
one's life. Once in a shelter, it's easier to develop the idea of getting
out of trouble that one has already sunk into.

Other than just looking at the mentally
ill being associated with homelessness, lack of affordable housing is also
another factor. In today's world, everything is being replaced; out with
the old, in with the new. As senile housing units are bulldozed to the
ground, not only is the unit itself destroyed, but also the affordability
of housing. This now makes the availability of low-income housing less
and less.

Kamala Markandaya illustrates homelessness
clearly to her audience as Ruki and Nathan are thrown from their house
and village. As Ruki and Nathan walk through the city, they discover they
are not the only people who are homeless. " ?We may yet be forced to that'
said Nathan pointing to their begging howls, ?if we do not find out son'

" (Markandaya 155). The city, crowded with mendicants, paints a perfect
example of all the homeless people; there are even homeless children. When
the worried Nathan says, "forced to that", he too recognizes the lack of
options for them, thus they may be forced to beg. Just as there are homeless
people during the day, there are the same homeless people at night and
they too must find somewhere to sleep. Ruki and Nathan, tired and worn
out, realize this as it approaches nighttime in the city. "Well, if you
do not arrive tonight there is a temple not far from here where you can
eat and sleep" (146). An invitation to a temple to eat and sleep at is
not always something you would expect to hear from strangers. The temple
must be organized to aid the poor and homeless. If there were not many
people who were poor or homeless in the first place, there would not be
an organization to help them.

Alcoholism also contributes to homelessness.

Homeless people with complex alcohol problems face particular difficulties
in finding accommodations. Many landlords