Cities across the United States
Each year, cities across the United States are creating unjust laws that are causing homelessness to be a crime, as a result more and more homeless people are ending up in the Criminal Justice System. According to the article, The Criminalization of Homelessness: Explained, “Hundreds of jurisdictions across the U.S. have criminalized homelessness, and the trend shows no signs of abating. Laws criminalizing homelessness have multiplied in the last 10 years in 187 studied cities” (Sarma and Brand, 2018). These laws are made to reduce ‘crime’ and improve “safety” but all that’s happening is the rate of the homeless going to jail has increased. According to a study done by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “12 percent of prisoners were homeless when they were arrested” (Mayer and Reichart, 2018). This is up compared to earlier years. When these people come out of prison, they often find it difficult to live life like normal citizens. So ever so often, these people will go back to their ways of living without basic services and conditions as a mean to survive. However, cities are cracking down on this, places include Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and others not listed are where thousands of people each year are imprisoned for living on the streets.
Homelessness in the country causes an increase in poverty, thus creating more economic disparity, and making it borderline impossible to live a decent life. According to Molly Orshansky (2019) from the Federal Safety Net, "In the United States the definition of poverty is an individual with income less than $34 per day or a family of four with income less than $69 per day.” With an average of less than $34-day, one person in poverty would expect to make 12,410 dollars a year. This is nearly not enough for someone to survive reasonably especially in one of the world’s richest countries. According to Phillip Alston, “About 40 million people live in poverty, 18.5 million in extreme poverty, and 5.3 million in “absolute poverty. The conditions described, includes high infant-mortality rates, exposure to raw sewage, lack of basic medical care and sanitation, and malnutrition.” These conditions are nearly describing a third world country, but this is in the US. All it takes for 40 million people to end up in poverty here is to make less than $34 or a family of four that makes 64 dollars or less a day.
Homelessness has no color or face it affects everyone; however the distribution is unequal; you are more likely to live without a home just because you have a darker complexion, meaning you are black. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness,” Poverty, is a strong predictor of homelessness, and African-American households are much more likely to experience poverty than their White counterparts. More than one in five (21.4 percent) African-Americans live in poverty 2.5 times the rate of Whites (8.8 percent)” (Racial Inequality, 2019). Most of this occurs because Blacks make way less than Whites and it’s not even close. On average, says the article “Housing Rights Are Human Rights states, “The median net worth of African-American: $6,100; of whites: $67,000” (Gomez, 2005). These stats are alarming. Blacks barely have a leg on the floor when it comes to poverty and homelessness. The fact that the average income of blacks is around $6,000 and the poverty rate encompasses nearly a quarter of the race, and whites are miles ahead, is something that’s startling to look at. Some of the effects of segregation still remain in America even though it happened more than 50 years ago, wages have not climbed since the 60’s and most likely will continue to stay around this area for the coming decades.