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Homeless Population In America Essay

3027 words - 12 pages

One of the most prominent social issues is that of the homeless population. According to Korge & Furst, 24 percent of the homeless population are severely mentally ill, 20 percent are physically disabled, 19 percent are employed, 14 percent are victims of domestic violence, 14 percent are veterans, while 3 percent are HIV positive (Chp. 2.4, 2012). Although there are numerous programs and policies to eradicate homelessness, we still see that the numbers continue to rise. Essentially, social theories such as conflict, functionalist, and symbolic interactionist theories have been fundamental methods used to study and examine social issues like homelessness. Therefore, expanding on innovative methods and policies for the vulnerable populations are continually needed to be in sharp focus.
For example the best fit in a sociological theory would be the conflict theory. These theorists would probably not consider homelessness, in and of itself, to be an issue at all. They would name capitalistic intentions as being "the issue." A conflict theorist would maintain that the reason the homeless issue continues is not because of a homeless individual's supposed inability (or reluctance) to progress and be self-reliant. Rather, the conflict theorist would most likely theorize that the cause of homelessness comes from the capitalistic (upper SES), social classes that afflict those who cannot find employment or own a home. Further, when the very oppressors that refuse employment to those who need employment, the economic-underclass victims will be the thorn in the side, instead being the flower that blooms.
The second theory that helps explains homelessness is the Interactional theory. Interactional theorists would agree that the homeless population as a whole is banished from higher (SES) groups because of some actual interactions or exchanges (which can offend or discourage a homeless person) that can occur between lower social economic statuses or homeless individuals and those in any other economic class which are considered to be in a higher SES than the homeless person. Furthermore, some interactional theorists would most likely point to the unwillingness with some employers to hire homeless individuals and may lack any academic or prior employment experience. This is more often than not a terrible disappointment as well as discouragement for the lower economic status individuals and is one element that sometimes discourages numerous homeless people from even trying to pursue employment in the first place.
Korgen tells us “The nature of our interactions with others determines how we see ourselves and our role in society. In turn, our actions are conditioned, though not determined, by the social situations in which we find ourselves “(Chp. 1.3, 2012).
The third sociological theory that helps explain the homeless population is that of the Symbolic Interactionist. Korgen & Furst state… “Symbolic interactionist theory maintains that society is a...

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