Responding to the social problems that affect the populations you serve as a social worker is only one aspect of the professional responsibility you must undertake. The ability to be proactive by identifying disparities and gaps in policies is just as important. However, in order to be an effective advocate and to fully participate in the policy process, it is important that you be able to connect theory and research to policy-making decisions. Having the knowledge and skills to implement new policies and policy alternatives without creating new disparities is a skill all social workers need to possess.For this Assignment, consider what you have learned about the possible causes of the social problem you selected.By Day 7Assignment (2–4 pages, APA format): Your paper should include: A description of the known explanations or causes of the issue you selected in your Social Issues paper in Week 3 (see attachment) HomelessnessA description of the theoretical explanations and approaches scholars and policy analysts used to discuss this issueA description of the policies that have resulted from these discussions and an explanation of whether they are effective at resolving the issueSupport your Assignment with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.Running head: ANALYZING SOCIAL PROBLEMS AND SOCIAL POLICY
Analyzing Social Problems and Social Policy
Cherrie Blackman
SOCW 6351
September 20, 2020
La Tonya Noel-Wilburn
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Analyzing Social Problems and Social Policy
Homelessness is a common problem in the U.S. and the world over. It is one of the
biggest social problems of the 21st century. Homelessness remains a global issue that affects a lot
of societies and almost every locality in the world (Alowaimer, 2018). People all over the world
have to endure instability due to this problem. Homelessness does not only affect the lives of the
homeless but also of those around them. It serves as evidence of larger problems within the
societies. To find a solution to homelessness, it is imperative to understand the problem in its
entirety. Accordingly, it is important to study the causes of homelessness, its prevalence in the
society, those most affected population groups, the theories that can explain the problem, and
possible policy interventions.
The factors associated with homelessness are a combination of economic and social
factors. Low education attainment is a contributing factor to homelessness. Majority of the
homeless population lacks relevant education or training that can afford them good employment
opportunities (Mago et al., 2013). Drug and substance use is another factor contributing to
homelessness. Due to the suffering that homeless people endure, most of them will turn to drugs
as a coping mechanism (Alowaimer, 2018). However, drug use in itself is likely to lead to
homelessness. Drug users may do anything including selling property to afford drugs, while
adversities such as loss of job are likely to occur concurrently with drug use (Alowaimer, 2018).
Moreover, when the homeless turn to drug use as a way to cope with their adverse
circumstances, mental health issues and addiction set in, dimming their capacity to create stable
personal and family life (UNAMINA International, 2019). Lack of affordable housing is
Inrguably one of the major causes of homelessness. Over the years, rent prices have risen
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significantly. Buying a house is also more expensive today than in previous decades. In the same
period, there has been no significant rise in wages that people receive (Chamie, 2017). People
with low income are left living in wanting conditions with some of them ending up homeless.
Homelessness is a prevalent problem. Globally, the homeless population is estimated at
150 million people. This makes up around 2% of the world population (Chamie, 2017). Further,
about 1.6 billion more people do not have adequate housing. This accounts for about 20% of the
world’s population (Chamie, 2017). In the United States, the homeless population is estimated at
60,000 families on any particular night (UNANIMA International, 2019). Nonetheless, obtaining
an accurate number of homeless people is difficult for several reasons. One reason is a
discrepancy in how different societies define homelessness. The lack of a commonly agreed
definition of homelessness makes it difficult for experts to make meaningful comparisons.
Governments may also lack the commitment and requisite resources to measure how prevalent
the problem is. In some societies, homelessness is a taboo subject (Chamie, 2017). It may rarely
be openly discussed, making availability of accurate data difficult.
Homelessness is a social problem that affects individuals and families across the world,
with socioeconomic status being the lead factor in determining who becomes homeless.
However, just as socioeconomic status is characterized by disparities along ethnic/racial lines,
with the minorities being the disadvantaged lot, minorities are disproportionally represented in
the homeless population. In the U.S., a report by National Alliance to End Homelessness (2020)
shows that minority groups that include African Americans, Native Hawaiians, and American
Indians, suffer the homelessness problem at a higher rate than their White majority counterparts.
African Americans account for the highest percentage of the homeless population at 40% even
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though they are only 13 percent of the national population. Therefore, while homeless is a global
problem, it disproportionally affects minority groups in countries where socioeconomic
disparities are defined along ethnic/racial lines.
There have been increased interest surrounding homelessness and its various aspects
from scholars. The new orthodoxy theory is one of the theories that have emerged to try and
explain homelessness (Pleace, 2016). According to the theory, homelessness is not individual or
structural. Instead, it is as a result of the interaction between structural and individual factors.
Structural factors include the operation of housing and labor markets, cultural and political
factors that all lead to inequity (Pleace, 2016). Inequity includes issues such as sexism, racism,
and other types of stigmatization. Individual needs, characteristics, experiences, and behavior are
some of the individual factors. All these factors combined can cause homelessness. When one
encounters negative structural and personal factors they are likely to end up homeless. The
chances of one ending up homeless are higher if they lack personal capacity including resilience,
coping skills, and the needed financial resources (Pleace, 2016). However, if much is done it is
possible to caution such individuals.
Several approaches have been tried in a bid to alleviate the homelessness problem. The
majority of these are policy and economic tools (Kelkar et al., 2019). They include traditional
approaches that are meant to reduce the number of homeless individuals and families. For
example, in the U.S., measures whose main aim is to prevent homelessness such as eviction
prevention grants and legal and support services are available. There are also emergency shelter
programs that are offered to individuals and families who require short-term shelter. These
programs offer an immediate alternative that prevents people from sleeping in uninhabitable
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places. They offer a short term safety net (National Academies of Sciences, 2018). There are also
transitional housing programs that provide people with housing for a maximum period of 24
months within a supervised setting. They also offer social services that prepare families and
individuals for permanent housing. The Housing First program which has roots in New York
City serves people who have experienced homelessness for some time as well as those who are
at risk of being homeless (Kelkar et al., 2019). It allows the homeless to have a home, for
example, by providing permanent housing to the most vulnerable and facilitating access to
affordable housing options.
World over, homelessness is a big problem that requires immediate attention. However,
this cannot be done effectively without looking at the problem from a wide perspective. There
are many contributing factors to homelessness with the lack of affordable housing being one of
the major factors. The prevalence of the problem cannot be easily described as it also seems to
affect people at all levels in society, but in the U.S., the minority population groups bear the
brunt of the problem. The new orthodoxy is one of the best theories that can be used to explain
homelessness. Policy approaches and programs to alleviate homelessness in the U.S. include
eviction prevention grants, emergency shelter programs, transitional housing programs, and the
Housing First program.
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References
Alowaimer, O. (2018). Causes, effects, and issues of homeless people. Journal of Socialomics,
07(03). https://doi.org/10.4172/2167-0358.1000223
Chamie, J. (2017). As cities grow, so do the numbers of homeless. YaleGlobal Online.
https://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/cities-grow-so-do-numbers-homeless
Kelkar, M., Frey, R., Engel, S., & Suriya, N. (2019). Addressing homelessness with data
analytics. Deloitte Insights. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/publicsector/homelessness-data.html
Mago, V. K., Morden, H. K., Fritz, C., Wu, T., Namazi, S., Geranmayeh, P., Chattopadhyay, R.,
& Dabbaghian, V. (2013). Analyzing the impact of social factors on homelessness: A
fuzzy cognitive map approach. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 13(1).
https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6947-13-94
National Academies of Sciences. (2018). Addressing homelessness in the United States Permanent supportive housing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519590/
National Alliance to End Homelessness. (2020). Racial
inequality. https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/what-causeshomelessness/inequality/
Pleace, N. (2016). Researching homelessness in Europe: Theoretical perspectives.
https://www.feantsaresearch.org/download/10-3_article_11612162762319330292.pdf
UNANIMA International. (2019). The impact of personal & family circumstances on
homelessness. https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/wpcontent/uploads/sites/22/2019/05/QUINN_Jean_Paper.pdf
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