Essay On Homelessness and its Prevention Theories: Social Analysis Assessment Answer
Introduction to Social Analysis
Homelessness and its Prevention Theories
A person, family or societies who are living without any proper or adequate housing facilities can be considered as homelessness. Homelessness has further been separated into three kinds, namely primary, secondary and tertiary. There are several theories proposed to reduce and eliminate the problem of homelessness, namely the conflict theory, symbolic interaction, rational choice and functionalism theories. Conflict theory was proposed by Karl Marx, who stated that civilization is in a condition of perpetual conflicts because of the competition for inadequate wealth between human beings (Castellanos & Daniel, 2016). In comparison, the symbolic interaction is about viewing the society as a composed symbol of a community that is used to develop views about the world, and the communication with each another. At the same time, rational choices or the exchange theory states that every choice of people suffering from homelessness is made by considering the costs, reimbursement, and the risks of resolving their financial stability in the society (Smith & Rachael; Paternoster et al.; 2017, 2017).
At last, functionalism theory tries to clarify the social institutions as collective means of meeting the individual and social needs. Thus, homelessness is mainly affected by three causes; the lack of affordable housing, the inefficiency of public assistance, and breakdown of the families involved. According to a report of 2016, the issue of homelessness in the USA has been increased because of the lack of social and family supports, failed governmental policies, societal isolations, unemployment, and drug and alcohol abuse (Brush et al., 2016). Hence, the issue of homelessness could be reduced by providing proper care through introducing host homes, which can provide the shelters, increase the opportunities of jobs, and reduce criminal involvement and injustice.
Homelessness and its Theories
Homelessness is the biggest threat and complex problem of the society which involves the economic and social factors such as financial instability, lack of housing, the involvement of addictions, mental health issues, and finally, the community and family breakdowns. It has been categorized into three types, primary homelessness; which includes people living without any proper housing facilities such as people living on streets, improvised lodging or their car as shelters. Secondary homelessness consists of people who frequently move from one place to another in search of accommodation and resources. Lastly, the tertiary homelessness is a situation where a person lives in canvas or boarding houses, on a short or long term basis without any security for the lease (Payne et al., 2015). For reducing the issue of homelessness, specific theories have been justified further.
Conflict Theory: The conflict theory suggests that private enterprise is the basic reason for homelessness. The conflict theory also advises that business owners exploit their workers daily; they don't provide them with their basic human need like food and shelter, which leads to an increase in homelessness (Castellanos & Daniel, 2016). The theory also focuses on the struggle between groups of society over limited capital; it also focuses on the competition between groups and classes. Conflict theory has been used to describe the broader range of collective phenomenon, which includes wars, poverty, domestic aggression and inequity. It put down the majority of the core development in the history of humanity, like democracy and human rights. Central beliefs of conflict theory are the concepts of social inequality, the splitting up of capital, and the conflicts that exist between dissimilar socio-economic groups (Must, 2016). Conflict theories can be used to determine social conflicts throughout history. Some researchers found communal conflict as the key which is responsible for the development in the community. Conflict theory consists of unemployment as the most powerful or privileged position in the homelessness; unemployment affects almost everyone to some point in their lives. According to conflict theory, poverty is rapidly increasing because of the lack of proper opportunity and discrimination against the poor and rich, which is harmful to society. Conflict theory regarding race and colour states a point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict among people of a diverse racial or ethnic group.
Symbolic Interactionism: Symbolic interactionism offers chances for analyzing ways in which dissimilar socializing incidents affect the lifestyle of an individual (Smith & Rachael, 2017). Symbolic interactionism states that we develop the logic of being self by evaluating ourselves by working on our actions and arguing with self. According to Symbolic interactionism theory, homeless people as a group is not accepted from socio-economic groups because of relations that occur between the person without shelter and those in economic sector economically better off than homeless individual (Carter et al., 2016). The everyday interaction of the individual with the society which considers society as a whole is the main theory of social interactionism. It examines hierarchy from the ground level perception, which helps in analyzing strives to explain how an individual's standing affects his everyday interaction. From micro orientation point of view, symbolic interaction tries to understand stratification and thus poverty by gazing at people dealings and understanding in their daily lives.
The main principles of symbolic interactionism are; Act of a human being towards things that is meaningful for them; these meaning begin out of social interaction. It is essential for human both as collectives and individuals to develop symbols because it is the heart of symbolic interactionism. It is essential about how the presence of symbols is primary to the survival of societies, our self-concept, and our mentality, which further helps reducing homelessness.
Rational Choice/Exchange: According to the rational choice theory, every selection that is made is completed by first taking into consideration the cost, risks and benefits of making that decision. The rational choice theory states that an individual uses a rational calculation to make rational choices and pull off outcomes that are associated with their objective (Paternoster et al., 2017). It is used in moulding human behaviour, the premise of rational choice theory as in social methodology is that the aggregate behaviour in society reflects the amount of the choices made by individuals. Every individual in turns makes their choices based on their fondness and the constraints they face. The critical element of all rational choice explanations is individual preferences, constraints, and beliefs. Preference represents both the positive and negative costing attach to the possible outcome of the action of individuals. The rational choice provides an opportunity for every individual to take decision wisely for their well-being. As the homelessness increases the crime rate, the rational choice theory involves that criminals are rational in making a decision and despite the consequences, that the result and outcome of committing crime overshadow the punishment (Fumagalli, 2020). The behavioural economics of human state that an individual person is not rational and likely to make wrong decision frequently, as humans are emotional and they can’t hold their feelings and don’t have self-control. In homelessness, being rational can have some positive and negative aspect; sometimes, being too rational can affect an individual in choosing the perfect path for him.
Functionalism: The functionalism theory tries to explain social institutions as combined means to meet individuals and social needs. According to the functionalism perspective, every phase of culture is dependent on each other and contributes to establishing stability within society. Functionalism is a theory about the mental states (Powell, 2017). The primary concepts within functionalism are combined principles, social order, education, family, crime and the media. Functionalism looks every aspect of the society such as roles, norms, institutions, how the things function and how society stays balance; this theory combines all aspect of the society to meet the needs of individuals in the society. The perspective of functionalist sees society as a multifaceted system whose every part works together to bring stability and unity. (Turner & Jonathan, 2017). The theory suggests that homelessness is a social problem, which needs to handle and care within the society by interacting with the individual. Everyone who is living in shelters and on streets groups, society is affected by the increasing demands of goods and services which can may leads to conflict between the society, within the society homelessness has their effects which are; cold injury, skin diseases, mental illness, physical and sexual assault (Every et al., 2019 ). The strength of the functionalism is that it can accurately model or shape many aspects of society and can be helpful in strengthen society.
Reduction of Homelessness in society
Homelessness can impact the society in many ways such as, taking drugs, sexual molestation, and feeling of isolation and experiencing a physical and mental health problem, it can also lead to high risk of suicide attempts and crimes (Ortiz et al., 2017). Ending or reducing homelessness is very important; it can be beneficial for both the community and healthcare system as well. Homelessness can be reduced by providing adequate care to homeless people and providing them with housing, integrated health care, built a career pathway, etc. Homelessness prevention includes the procedure, services and interaction that reduce the possibility that someone will experience. There are three types of prevention used to reduce the homelessness namely; universal prevention is the policies and interaction which indicates the large public, while selected prevention only aims at a particular group or its members, lastly indicated prevention applied on all those who are underprivileged to ensure they do not become homeless firstly (Kenna et al., 2016). Social media can also be a powerful platform to reduce homelessness; it can provide the proper attention required for needy people. Social media can be helpful for needy in providing the food, shelter and fulfilling the basic needs.
Research has shown that a single cause cannot define homelessness. The issue of homelessness includes a composite combination of societal and individual issues. While the individual reasons for homelessness impact a huge percentage of the population with issues such as addiction and mental illness, at the same time the society has recorded homelessness with a decrease in reasonable housing and monetary fund compared to the range of the problem. Homelessness is a special threat to the society which has caused many conflicts in the community or group; the reasons are mainly lack of housing, increasing population, unemployment, injustice. These can be removed or reduced by using different theories, namely; Conflict theory, symbolic interaction, rational choice, and functionalism. Conflict theory states about the contest about the limited resources which further reduces the conflict and war among the society. On the other hand, symbolic interactionism is the method of interacting with the society with the help of symbols which can help the individual to communicate with society. While the rational choice helps make correct decisions; thus, it could help take the appropriate decision. Hence, if these solutions could be implemented properly within a society, a drastic declination rate can be achieved in the percentage of homelessness.