Homelessness In Different Environments

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Homelessness In Different Environments

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On any given night, there is an estimated 554,000 homeless spread across the United States in 2017. Homeless people struggle throughout their daily lives; with the constant danger of the streets as a never-ending concern and the uncertainty of when your next meal will be, as well as any number of things to worry about that you wouldn’t even think of otherwise. Not only are the homeless subject to the worry of the streets, in many cases they face extreme danger when it comes to the environment and their non-artificial surroundings.

 

Obviously, the homeless are not able to enjoy the benefits of a warm heater and a house to return to every day to escape the cold of the night. Instead, they are forced to use whatever they scavenge for on the streets to keep warm and to return to their camp, if they are a part of one, and maybe, if they’re lucky, gather around a fire lit inside of a trash can for any warmth they can find.

This may seem to not be a truly terrible issue in Los Angeles, yet our homeless population around the area of Los Angeles (about 55,000 COUNTED homeless people, many prefer to not be counted thus this information does not represent the total number of homeless) face many of the same issues that others around the country do. For example; last week, homeless people, spread across California from San Francisco to Los Angeles, were exposed to the harsh weather conditions that we faced, those being thunderstorms and violent winds across the state. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can result in trench foot, hypothermia, and frostbite. In extreme cases, it may even result in death.

A homeless man sits in the falling snow in the Financial District on January 30th, 2019, in New York City. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

 

An example of an extreme case would be the recent polar vortex that shocked the United States, specifically the East Coast. Cities such as Chicago plummeted to temperatures of -42 degrees when taking wind chill into consideration. Chicago is yet another major U.S city, boasting almost 80,384 homeless. This sudden cold weather creates many difficulties for the homeless across the U.S, specifically in these extreme cases like Chicago. As of five days ago, the total death toll from the polar vortex had risen to at least 21 deaths, including a 69-year-old Illinois man found frozen to death.

Image source: theweek.com

Local governments must realize these extreme dangers that are put into the spotlight with these violently cold conditions and do absolutely anything necessary to protect their homeless population. Although various places throughout the U.S attempted this with “warming centers”, it was simply not enough considering the mass amount of people impacted by these extreme temperatures, and it’s the government’s duty to take care of its own people. With this in mind, it is ridiculous to think that all local governments wouldn’t ensure the safety of their population, homeless or not. This is yet another internal improvement that the U.S must strive to solve, and one that should have been taken care of before the pre-meditated polar vortex.