Reply to 2 discussion posts – Q: Could there/should there be a right to housing
Reply to 2 discussion posts - Q: Could there/should there be a right to housing for all? What else could be done? How does homelessness contribute to health problems and how does it affect us all? In my opinion, I definitely believe that everyone has a right to housing, but the sad reality is that currently, there is an estimated 2.5 to 3.5 million people who are homeless. In the past, many mentally ill patients were de-institutionalized, causing a significant increase in the number of homeless. Right now, not only do the homeless have no shelter but they also lack access to proper healthcare, which affects their living conditions, jobs and therefore, keeps them homeless. For example, although 20% of homeless persons maintain full or part-time jobs, only 5% of them are privately insured. Besides, it is reported that the majority of homeless adults are not even eligible for Medicaid or Medicare. As a result, most homeless individuals do not visit the hospital until their illness becomes so severe they need emergency rooms. Without adequate care, the homeless usually suffer from dermatologic conditions, respiratory infections, sexually transmitted infections and especially, trauma. For homeless women, being abused in their own homes is ironically the cause of their homelessness. Limited availability of domestic violence shelters and domestic violence fleeing victims not reported as homeless contribute greatly to how these women have gone unacknowledged. Consequently, homeless women have to resort to prostitution and survival sex, leading to a high rate of pregnancy (twice compared to the population) and STIs. On one hand, homelessness affects us quite negatively such as higher susceptibility to crime, violence, disease transmission and lower availability of public services and resources; therefore, it is hard not to form a gloomy outlook on homelessness. On the other hand, the insufficient assistance and abundant ignorance of our capitalism-driven and individualistic society are precipitating and perpetuating homelessness. If we really want to solve this problem, as a community, not only do we need to learn about the social, psychological, economic, cultural, and social background of this demographic but we also need to accept and help them integrate into the community. Removing our prior prejudice and judgment about this group to make room for new, useful information to effectively help the homeless is what we should all do. As a student, in order to enhance my empathy and hopefully help fix this problem, I always try to educate myself as well as volunteer in social services agencies. and Question 1: Could there/should there be a right to housing for all? What else could be done? How does homelessness contribute to health problems and how does it affect us all? To me, the first part of this question could be interpreted in two ways. The first way could mean the actual right to own a home, what we have now. The second way this can be understood involves giving people homes rather than just the opportunity to earn one. Personally, I believe that what we have now would last longer than the latter. There are two main reasons why just giving the homeless homes may be detrimental to the movement: foreseeable competition and the lack of proper support programs. Handing out homes would require multiple plots of land and if all those homes are filled, it may lead to competition. Especially if they’re aiming towards, for example, the town over. There is also no guarantee that there are any substantial amount of jobs open at once. It could also lead to discrimination since they would be concentrated in one neighborhood. The other reason would be a lack of support programs. This is a major concern because I wouldn’t want to be given a home and then essentially be told to “figure it out”. That’s like giving an amputee a new leg and expecting them to walk properly right off the bat. There needs to be an incentive to encourage these new homeowners to look for a job and sustain that lifestyle. Another thing that can be done is going around a “target” town and asking local residents/homeless individuals how they feel about a certain project. This would help with getting an initial sample size and getting a general opinion from the area. Homelessness contributes to health problems simply because they aren’t treated. It’s much more difficult to rid a town of influenza if there is a homeless man walking around with it. There is also the issue of homelessness sickness, these being diseases that can become common within homeless communities. Homeless communities suffer from “dermatologic conditions, respiratory infections, tooth decay, foot problems, vision disturbances, STIs, and trauma” (Public Health and Social Justice, 79). Although some of these are not contagious, they can lead to problems in the future.

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