Tag Archives: Mental disorder

Stats that tell only part of the story…

A few days ago a story ran on the news about how the city was finally getting rid of the tents around town, they were celebrating a victory. Then right after that a front page newspaper story announced how the mental illness issues and emergency room stays for the homeless were rising in the last 4 years. Now if people could put two and two together. Maybe the rise in mental illness among the homeless and the jump in emergency room costs are related to the “tents in the trash” programs (which, coincidentally, began around 4 years ago).

Another precious news story from just today: The homeless rates are going down from 2005 to now. If they would study the amount of homeless dying every year (which surely has risen) they might see the cause of the decline. As usual, public policy has chosen the low road to solving the problems of homelessness.

The Hidden Reasons for Homelessness

Food line at the Yonge Street Mission, 381 Yon...

Food line at the Yonge Street Mission, 381 Yonge Street, Toronto, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many reasons for homelessness. The media focuses on three most of the time (mental illness, drugs, and laziness), but I have seen hidden reasons for homelessness.

More than one person I knew have told me about their childhood and mentioned sexual abuse by a family member. They didn’t state that as the cause of their situation, but it doesn’t take much intelligence to put 2 and 2 together. They don’t trust authority now because their trust was broken early on. This can lead to problems with bosses, family conflict, and difficulty in relationships. Not everyone who was abused turns to the streets, but an amazing number of people with dysfunction in their lives have similar histories of abuse.

Another cause of some people’s homelessness is, surprisingly, being pushed out of an inheritance by siblings or other family members. I have also experienced such an event (I won’t go into details). Depending on how much the individual wanted the property, the depression and dispare can be quite devastating. I felt a sense of unfairness, but luckly, was not interested in the property and didn’t get as emotionally invested in it as some family members did. In any case, the resentment that results can break bonds within a family and the person has not only lost their inheiratance, but also there family connections.

Disability is one more cause that is a hidden reason for homelessness. I have to say this is a contributing factor with me also. If someone is disabled but does not meet requirements for federal help, then things can get pretty grim. Even those who get a SSDI check have little structure in their lives and some end up on the streets. The added factor of having a legal means to getting pain killers makes the situation worse.

I hope this post has opened some eyes about the causes of homelessness. Of course, you would never know of these hidden reasons if you never took the time to talk with someone who is homeless.