It’s a well-known fact that the United States considered the richest nation in the world (is failing behind across so many sectors) — is the country with more homeless people. The United States has around 650,000 homeless people, Australia around 100,000, and Japan between 100,000 and 200,000.
Homelessness is defined as living in housing that is below the minimum standard or lacks secure tenure. People can be categorized as homeless if they are: living on the streets; moving between temporary shelters, including houses of friends, family, and emergency accommodation; living in private boarding houses without a private bathroom or security of tenure.
The picture below shows the number of people experiencing homelessness in the United States.
In addition to the obvious challenges – lacking personal shelter, warmth, and safety – homeless people also have to face several other problems, including medical problems, sleep problems, carrying all their possessions with them all the time for safekeeping, personal hygiene problems, clothes cleaning problems, food problems (obtaining, preparing and storing), hostility from others, no mailing address, limited access to education, almost non-existent employment opportunities, violence on the streets, limited social interactions, limited access to communication technology, psychological problems connected to rejection and many others that most of us can’t even imagine
The pictures below show three homeless in New Jersey, living in the Park of one of the richest towns in New Jersey, Weehawken. Also, I am shown a car where a woman with two children is housed. When I asked if they will need me to contact the proper authorities, two asked to do so while Gonzalez, start yelling – I do not need help. I am a Latino 100% bilingual.
How can we battle this incredible social problem?
The solution to homelessness seems straightforward: housing. By connecting people experiencing homelessness to housing and services, they have a platform from which they can address other areas that may have contributed to their homelessness — such as employment, health, and substance abuse.
However, in reality, there is no solution in place today. If you become disable and apply for social security disability aid, it could take up to four years to get approved, and applying for low rent housing can take more than 5 years. In other words, if you become disable the probability of becoming homeless is very high.
But why, it takes so long for the United States to take care of their people. Social Security is in bankruptcy for lack of funding and the number of low rent apartments is limited.
The solution is building more low rent or zero rent housing and private homes – Green Housing.
There are many benefits associated with green housing:
* Durable materials last a long time — not only are they sustainable, but they save the cost of replacement and regular maintenance. Green housing provides short- and long-term savings. Green Housing utilizes less energy, resulting in cheaper utility bills. The natural environment is positively impacted. Using renewable and clean energy sources lessens our reliance on fossil fuels and other depleting sources. The construction process of a traditional home alone emits much construction waste. Recyclability of materials therefore lessens negative emission on the environment. Green housing takes advantage of non-toxic materials. During construction, less toxic waste is emitted into the air. Over 90 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are derived from fossil fuel combustion! Such combustion produces other air pollutants as well. There are also purer ventilation systems in green homes — the air is cleaner. Instead of recycling stale indoor air, fresh outdoor air is continuously brought into the home, promoting a healthier indoor environment.
Saving money, More Housing, Taking Care of the Environment, and our health, the only solution to homeless.
* Reference – Farah Ahmad, a fifth-year architecture student at New York City College