Human Services, Homelessness, and GOVT2302

by Frederic Granillo, June 2014

300 words

1 page


The part of the course that is most appealing to me concerns public policies and administration with the emphasis on the human services. A widespread belief of Texas being a wealthy state is only partially true (see Brown et al. 361) – the state’s high rate of poverty is not as widely discussed as its prosperity image is propagated on the administrative and public levels. Considerations and policies fighting poverty issues are mostly directed towards the solutions of the poor having fair access to education and health care whereas the housing problem remains unsettled. Sociologists and policymakers are concerned about complex structural determinants and dimensions of homelessness or to cut it short – features and risks. Highlighting this important part of the issue, I reveal public opinion on the causes of this social problem and argue in favor of modifying attitudes to take an earnest attempt to change the situation for the better.

The evident and standard definition of homelessness points out the issue of marginally housed and literally homeless people. According to Milton Argeri et al., there is no unified definition of homeless persons and families: they may include those “who lack customary and regular access to conventional housing” (735). However, a number of studies show that there is a gradation of the poor.

The research undertaken (see Danseco & Holden) to define types of homelessness is important because it exposes a burning issue of affecting not only persons challenged by poor or lack of accommodations, but it also impacts their individual health (physical and mental) and lifestyle (addictions). Moreover, and what is more acute, homelessness endangers families and children’s wellbeing.

Thus, there are two stereotypes or approaches to define the homeless. It is either an individual portrayed with “stressed laziness, immorality, wanderlust, heavy drinking, and other character deficits as reasons for one’s descent to the lowest rung of the stratification ladder” (Lee et al. 254) who is to take responsibility for homelessness. Or the advocates for structural causes of homelessness call for “changes in housing availability, the economy, mental health policy, and welfare provision” (Lee et al. 254) because they view the cause for the issue in socially limited access to housing options. The observation made testifies to a striking tendency among those being white, older, male, and of higher income to favour individualistic beliefs over structural ones about the roots of poverty and homelessness.

To conclude, the causes of homelessness are a symbiosis of personal and structural reasons that have negative effects on prosperity and the future of the whole of society. Thus, those being in a more advantageous situation are to take action to ensure structural changes for a safer development of younger generations and improvement of the current situation. The set of activities can be started with the personal reconsideration of the views and attitudes to the poor and homeless: not to judge, but to share is a more situation improving principle. Charity, volunteer work, activism for subsidized housing and job creation …

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