What’s the real reason?

by blang1 on April 13, 2014 - 10:11pm

Mago, Morden, Fritz, Wu, Namazi, Geranmyeh, Chattopadhyay and Dabbaghian (2013) use information from counts and from a virtual common-sense map to argue that homelessness is a social problem that comes with many economic and social factors such as poverty, lack of affordable housing, uncertain physical and mental health, addictions, and community and family breakdown. These factors help us come to the conclusion of what types of homelessness contribute to certain people. So technically to be fully homeless is to be without shelter and to be partially homeless is to be with uncertain, temporary, or sub-standard shelter. But Mago, Morden, Fritz, Wu, Namazi, Geranmyeh, Chattopadhyay and Dabbaghian (2013) explain that homelessness is difficult to define and this causes the government to struggle with uncertainty when trying to create and implement policies that they hope will cut down on the number of homeless people in the country. Metro Vancouver is a city in Canada that does a comprehensive homeless count every three years. Counters make sure to include the sheltered homeless which are individuals who spend nights in shelters, safe houses, transition houses, hospitals, jails, remand centers, and detox/recovery facilities and those who are unsheltered such as individuals who spend their nights on the streets, in parks, or at drop-in programs. While doing these counts, the experts also conduct an experimentation using a virtual common-sense map which is a map conducted of personal and historical knowledge of factors that the experts believe affect homelessness. But do counters really include all of the types of homeless people out there? Mago, Morden, Fritz, Wu, Namazi, Geranmyeh, Chattopadhyay and Dabbaghian (2013) explain how researchers take the information in the virtual common-sense map and conduct a more in depth research process based on which factors are most likely and least likely to cause homelessness. According to the research, the factors of addiction, family breakdown, government assistance, and mental illness all dominated the system by being most likely to result in homelessness. Also conclusions were made that the factors that are least likely to result in homelessness are addiction, education, income, social network support and family breakdown. The conclusions show that a couple of the factors that are most likely to result in homelessness are also least likely to result in homelessness.

The research explained by Mago, Morden, Fritz, Wu, Namazi, Geranmyeh, Chattopadhyay and Dabbaghian (2013) also results in some implications. The main implication explained in the article is that the research shows that homelessness causes the government to struggle with uncertainty when trying to create and implement policies that they hope will cut down on the number of homeless people in the country. Although the common-sense map is a good way to start the research process of what factors result in homelessness, there are some consequences such as inaccurate research that come along with it. Mago, Morden, Fritz, Wu, Namazi, Geranmyeh, Chattopadhyay and Dabbaghian (2013) argue that with the factors such as addiction and family breakdown being under the category of most likely to result in homelessness and the category of least likely to result in homelessness, it seems as if a new strategy of research should be conducted to find a more accurate answer on what really causes homelessness. The government cannot implement policies to cut down on the number of homeless people in the country without absolutely accurate information of exactly what factors result in homelessness.

Mago V., Morden H., Fritz C., Wu T., Namazi S., GeranmyehP., Chattopadhyay R. & Dabbaghian V. (2013). Analyzing the impact of social factors on homelessness: a Fuzzy Cognitive Map approach. BMC Medical Informatics & Decision Making, 13(1), 1-19.

http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy2.drake.brockport.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=a6396466-c0d4-4113-87a1-c0f7ca2d33d8%40sessionmgr114&vid=3&hid=109

Comments

I do like the use of an academic journal written by several researchers working together. The fact that homelessness is ambiguous does leave room for error when governments attempt to work out the problem by themselves. There is a gap between the reality of homelessness and what the governments theorize and implement in their control policies.

I do agree that the most common suggestion is to research more on the factors that contribute to the people living without a home, particularly to influence their thinking so that way they are not put in the serious consequences that those living homelessly are having. I also accept the many different factors that are associated with homelessness, particularly discrimination and addictions.

To draw a connection, I actually know a little bit of information on homelessness. Less than four years ago, I've seen two people in Montreal already who wanted to beg for money. I did contribute, but my dad was pretentious, saying that these people I've gave money to once would be too lazy to find a job, and that it does risk me living poorly for granting too much money. But when I was finishing off my high school, I came across an organization that is there in taking action to reduce the number of people living off the streets.

It's called "Le Bon Dieu Dans la Rue," (Website: http://www.danslarue.com/) established in 1988 and located at Montreal's Central Station. Their job is to aid the youth who are homeless or under a very difficult situation. They approach the people in such a way where it inspires the youth to start fulfilling their immediate needs, get a job, and build skill towards having more successful and independent lives. According to their site, they estimate that in Montreal alone, between 10,000 and 15,000 youths are living homelessly. The organization has frontline services, intervention and prevention programs, and basic services.

The thing about relating Montreal with homelessness, I think, is there should be a more organizational approach to people living homelessly than just the government alone; the government is often too busy to deal with just small local issues. They are more into fixing problems for the general public. For instance, I remember seeing quickly that Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, and former Quebec Premier, Pauline Marois, visited Lac-Mégantic late in Summer 2013 after the trail derailment that destroyed most of the town. Although organizations definitely have limits, they can still approach homeless people in such a way where hopefully, the people will contribute back to the organization in return of the services they receive, such as loans.

Eventually, in sum, I find that based on this article alone, organizations are a better choice than governments, even if this technically doesn't apply to more local areas, particularly in the countryside or areas where there aren't that many people around.

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