Homelessness in America

Written by: Prof. Lewis
Updated: Dec 22, 2022
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Life brings along a lot of good and bad affairs. However, we try to focus on the good that brings us happiness. Experience sometimes tends to ruin the good times. One of the bad affairs that society today faces is homelessness. Homelessness can be defined as not having a fixed roof over one’s head or living in temporary accommodation under the threat of eviction[1]. This paper focuses on societal views to try to explain the issue of homelessness in the United States of America.

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Structural functionalism considers homelessness an element of both functional and dysfunctional societal state. The functionalist perspective works based on consensus and cohesion within a society. The theory provides a macro view of society, a codependent system that influences one another in various ways. For example, the case of a dysfunctional family institution is among the leading causes of homelessness in the country. This may arise from issues like domestic abuse, where the roles of individuals within the family institution are not being fulfilled. The abused party may be forced to move and live on the streets or in an emergency shelter hence homeless. This leads to dysfunction and hence breakdown. A social problem that affects a particular society should and must be perceived as a problem that affects a sample of the population and needs to be resolved.

The conflict theory states that society is in a state of conflict due to scarce resources. According to the idea, capitalism is the leading cause of homelessness[2]. Capitalism creates power differences between the “haves” and the “have not’s” whereby the wealthy group gains control through power and competition and can afford to live luxuriously. On the other hand, the poor are left homeless as they cannot pay the expensive house prices in the country. Therefore, capitalism identifies the homeless as the losers in society.

In conclusion, homelessness is a major societal problem in the United States of America and is caused by several factors. From the above observations, it is evident that in as much as individual flaws cause homelessness, society also plays a big role in contributing to the issue. The government of the United States of America should therefore take charge to minimize the gap between the rich and the poor as well as finding ways to find ways to try to solve individual flaws, like creating counseling groups to help solve the dysfunctional state.


  1. Neale, J., Burrow, R., Pleace, N. and Quilgars, D. (1997). Theorizing Homelessness: Contemporary Sociological and Feminist Perspective. London: Routledge.
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Homelessness in America. (2021, Apr 12). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/homelessness-in-america/