Impact of Homelessness and Shelter Life on Family Relationships

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:Social Work

Document 1

Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2011 shows that more than 1, 000, 000 Americans have experienced homelessness in one point of their lives. Almost have of this number are in families who have children. The most affected families are the single mother type of families bearing children as young as one-year-old. Moreover, these families are disproportionately represented in the likelihood of facing social risk factors, health problems, and poor economic well-being. These characteristics influence family life as it impacts negatively on the parent-child relationship. The cause of the increase of the families who are homeless is not exactly known, but it is mostly associated with domestic violence against women, increased cases of divorce, failure of the law to impose orders that support child care and loss of privately owned houses (Lindsey, 1998).

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This has caused United States department t of Housing and Urban Development to establish shelter homes that can accommodate these families. The homeless families in shelter homes face challenges, and this often affects the family relationships and the quality of parenting. This study aims at exploring the factors that are associated with homelessness, how homelessness affects the family relationship between mother, and their children, and finally how this condition affects children and adolescent in the homeless families. Most of the families in shelters are headed by women and made up of children and adolescents. This is because of the conditions that surround the parent-child relationship and the environment which the children grow. These children and adolescents also suffer from chronic health conditions such as asthma, depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress due to the situation that caused their family to be homeless such as domestic violence and childhood maltreatment.

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Children, including adolescents, have the right to grow in a healthy and safe environment, characterized by good parental care and provision. However, homelessness and poverty often disrupt family relationships due to the stressors that are associated with these conditions (Torquati, 2002). According to him, good parenting is determined by a number of combined factors, including the resources available, the context of the family and the physical and mental disposition of the parents. Homeless individuals have excess levels of mental illness, and most of them have serious mental issues. Importantly, homeless individuals cannot access treatment due to their low economic status. Substance abuse is a significant risk factor for homelessness. Drug abuse causes a continuing cycle of homelessness. A study aimed at assessing vulnerability factors for homelessness revealed that substance-dependent individuals experience multiple and more prolonged episodes of homelessness (Booth et al.

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Moreover, children who have a history of adoption, deviance or neglect are likely to become homeless in the future. Lack of resources and social support increases the risk of homelessness. Homeless women are likely to have conflicted relationships with the community members, and they seem to have a sparse network of friends (246). Individual socioeconomic status is a significant determinant of homelessness. Importantly, individuals are likely to become homeless after leaving the home area since it is difficult for them to locate support services. They tend not to have objective targets as they are swayed by what is happening at the moment (Biswas-Diener and Diener 185). Parents and guardians can be considered as a contributing factor to the growing homelessness especially regarding the manner in which they bring up their young ones (Robert, Pauzé, and Fournier 217).

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Ideally, there are very many homeless children who come from families that are well-off but find themselves homeless due to poor family management which comes about through family wrangles, lack of protocol, and improper guidance and canceling from their early ages. According to MacLean, Embry, and Cauce (180), family separation which is highly dominated by divorce has contributed to extensive homelessness among the youth. This is because divorce among families has been rampant in the current world as opposed to before. As such, structural and individual factors have been the main contributors to the latter. This is on top adolescent separation from their parents due to family wrangles and living in different places for a long period of time. Discussion and conclusion This paper explores various issues relating to homelessness with a particular interest in children and adolescents.

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The findings of the paper show that this age group is the most affected age group by homelessness. Since homelessness is a rising issue of national concern, focusing on reducing homelessness in this age group would have significant influence in reducing the number of people affected by the issue. References Bassuk, Ellen L. , John C. Buckner, Linda F. Weinreb, Angela Browne, Shari S. Bassuk, Ree Dawson, and Jennifer N. , Sullivan, Greer. , Burman, Audrey & Koegel, Paul "Vulnerability Factors for Homelessness Associated with Substance Dependence in a Community Sample of Homeless Adults. " The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 28, vol. 3, 2002, p. Chapleau, Ann. , Eric Vittinghoff, and Jennifer S. Haas. "Factors Associated with the Health Care Utilization of Homeless Persons. " Jama 285, no. 2, 2001, p.

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