A Community-Based Program Aiding Homeless People


Among social problem, homelessness exists as one of the most severe, and currently poorly addressed ones. According to recent statistics, as many as half a million American people live without a home, representing 0.2% of the population (Stasha, 2022). The circumstances and conditions of these people are different, with many having experienced great strife in the past. For some, homelessness is a consequence of missing a recent rent payment, for others it is the only way to escape family violence and abuse.

Generally, homelessness can be classified in three types – chronic, transitional, and episodic, depending on its duration. Transitional and episodic homelessness is based on lacking a home for a certain period of time, before moving to other living arrangements. Chronic homelessness, however, describes permanent lack of stable living conditions. People of all ages, races, identities can experience homelessness, to varying degrees of severity. What is significant, then, is that vulnerable populations are more likely to become homeless. LGBT youth, racial minorities, the elderly, veterans are all populations that are statistically more likely to experience poverty (Stasha, 2022). Living in a society entails having reliable social safety nets and support programs, which exist to promote better living and financial status. In some cases, support comes directly through the local and national government, creating policies designed to alleviate the problems of the marginalized.

In other cases, help comes through volunteers, social workers, non-profit organizations and community resources, often gathered out of willing and selfless individuals. This work will describe a plan to support the homeless population with community resources, mental health support and daily necessities. The proposal includes creating a homeless people shelter with an access to both basic necessities and a mental health professional. All people may require the help of their community at a point in their life, and the ability to be supported should be given to everybody, including those experiencing homelessness.

Effects of Homelessness

Homelessness is a condition that impacts all aspects of a person’s life, and has the ability to inflict long-lasting damage on an individual. Depending on the type of homelessness, some issues can either become further exacerbated or avoided. Starting with the physical effects of living without a stable home, it can be noted that the homeless experience a variety of health issues. Health conditions that are exacerbated through prolonged exposure to the elements (hypothermia or overheating), tuberculosis, cardio-respiratory disease, nutrition and digestion issues because of an irregular diet, seasonal aliments, HIV, and skin-related illnesses (Ponio, 2022). Aside from an increased likelihood of disease, harmful conditions are more likely to develop and spread within homeless communities, because this population encounters difficulty receiving medical attention. Leaving aside physical health, this population is also much more likely to live with severe mental health issues. In some cases, mental illness is the cause of a person losing their home, and in others, it is the result of a harsh life without stable living conditions. Issues of self-confidence, personal image and perception, depression, and exacerbation of pre-existing mental health issues.

Substance abuse is another severe issue connected with homelessness. Frequently, drugs circulate within homeless communities, where people use them to alleviate the stress that comes with not having a permanent home (Ponio, 2022). Drug addiction, then, makes it more difficult for these populations to be sociable, receive education or hold down jobs. Alcohol use, similarly, becomes a prevalent issue, for the same reasons. Both alcoholism and drug abuse are also reasons why the homeless may be incarcerated. Overall, the homeless population is likely to be jailed for a variety of crimes. Transitional living and stress contributes to the likelihood of both “nuisance offences” and more serious crimes (Ponio, 2022). For many, an entire revolving door forms between homeless shelters and prisons, with individuals moving in-between these locations perpetually. Connection with crime debilitates mental health, reduces the ability to find work and affects social relationships.

The last severe problem of homelessness, and one that is not often discussed, is sexual abuse. According to present statistics, the majority of women that experience homelessness get sexually assaulted, prevalence increasing when they are also mentally ill. Men and transgender individuals, similarly, are victims of rape in 27% and 38% cases (Ponio, 2022). These statistics are wildly disproportionate to the rates of sexual violence in other populations, reflecting the severity of the issue in homeless communities.

A Program for Assisting the Homeless

In order to combat some of the debilitating and harmful effects of homelessness, it is necessary to develop a multi-functional rounded program. A collection of services and activities can be created in order to address both the physical and mental effects of homelessness.

Mental Health Support

As previously discussed, mental health struggles represent a high portion of the homeless demographics’ issues. Trauma and abuse experienced from unstable living conditions and past life events is a hindrance to the population’s day-to-day life, and a concerning reality of homelessness. Therefore, community resources have a responsibility of supporting this population in the process of therapy and recovery. In a plan designed to help this vulnerable population, it is vital to engage experienced mental health professionals and offer psychological support at shelter locations. The service can include counselling, therapy, potential medication prescriptions, and sexual abuse counselling. Similarly, mental health professionals can work with addiction and substance use.

All of these processes would do well to reduce the levels of stress homeless people live with every day. According to existing resources, community information resources exist that help homeless people to alleviate their mental health issues, showing that it is an important consideration central to ensuring wellness within this community (“Homelessness resources: Trauma,” 2022). By allowing voluntary participation in mental health counselling, it can be possible to help more people experiencing homelessness.

Providing Basic Necessities and Shelter

The second vital part of supporting the homeless population is providing people with a stable living environment, food, hygiene and wellness necessities and a community space to interact with one another. The plan will include adapting an existing building into a community homeless shelter. Providing the homeless with an access to affordable living free of charge makes access to the population simpler, giving them with the desired benefits. Some of the amenities in the adapted shelter will include sleeping spaces, a community kitchen and a communication area. The Homeless shelters and specialty organizations, along with local community gathering locations all work on fulfilling this need, ensuring that the homeless population can better address its most basic needs. When the individual has enough support to live in relative comfort, protected by elements and not having to worry about whether they can survive tomorrow, they are more capable of addressing their other life problems. A stability in living at a shelter can help the homeless work toward obtaining a job, creating savings and improving their condition.


In conclusion, the homeless are a uniquely vulnerable demographic, one that experiences life from a unique perspective. A population prone to illness, mental health issues, substance abuse and physical abuse, they require more attention and protection than others. In order to reduce homelessness, and ensure that people have a better capacity for self-betterment, it is necessary to provide them with vital services. In this vein, mental health support, coupled with basic living necessities, has the capability to be especially helpful.


Homelessness resources: Trauma. (2022). SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Ponio, J. (2022). Understanding homelessness: Causes and effects. Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen.

Stasha, S. (2022). The State of Homelessness in the US – 2022. Policy Advice.