Is the Face of Homelessness Changing?

July 19, 2009

Traditionally, when many people think about a person who is homeless, the first archetype that comes to mind is a long term unemployed male, street beggar, drug user, or, sadly, the mentally ill. However, that may be changing now.

People who were traditionally employed in blue collar jobs (construction, retail, truck driving, factory work, etc.) were the ones who typically became unemployed and lost their homes. Now unemployment is creeping up even higher on the socio-economic scale to include white collar management (factory management, store management, teachers, nurses, etc.). These people, already in debt with credit cards, education loans, car payments, and variable mortgages are losing their homes, too.

With this in mind, many people are becoming critical of “shovel ready job” programs and re-education through community colleges that the current administration is pursuing. They argue that the “new homeless” won’t be helped by short-term, low income jobs. The “new homeless” are often already educated. They charge that the failure isn’t among the unemployed and shouldn’t be the focus of adjustments. Rather than creating “low end,” temporary jobs for “high end” unemployed, the management of the economy needs to be fundamentally changed. It should be regulated less and the types of regulations that are used need to reflect the underlying causes of the recession.

What do you think? Would you like to respond to this article? If so, select one of the topics below:

1. What do you think short term and low paying jobs will accomplish in the long term for our economy?

2. What do you think caused the recession? Some social scientists are now saying that we have “bottomed out” in the Bush Recession and are entering another, separate, discrete recession being caused by factors other than those credited with causing the original recession. What do you think?

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  1. I think that short-term jobs will help out the situation to a certain extent but it still takes more than that. I think that people have a tendency to rely on the system then to use it to get out of a hard situation. It is designed to help and part of that is the short term employment. The moving of the homeless class up the economic ladder is very bad and it shows that more people are becoming victims. The real problem here is that the credit card scam finally caught up with us because we got to relaxed with the privilege of being able to pay now and buy later society that we live in and it is not helping out our economy at all.

  2. I think too much money was spent on the war. Also americans were using there credit card when they did not have money. So now most people card are maxed out. Not as much money to fuel the economy

  3. I think that many of the programs mentioned in the article for the “blue collar” homeless are already underfunded, misguided, or implemented ineffeciently.
    I do agree with the charges that services for the unemployed are fundamentally flawed. Why is it that the educated have no safety net? No means to get back on their feet?
    Then again, white collar individuals (ought to) have the means to prepare. What has been happening is that the supply of the an educated, white collar workforce has overgrown. It has exceeded its sustainable limit.

    First of all, WHO is going to make these short-term jobs? The government would be repsonsible for this. If we do make short-term low-paying jobs, those will be immediately overfilled. In my opinion that is more taxes for a system that is bound to fail.

    The answer for what caused the recession is much more complicated than Bush, or the war in Iraq. There is plenty of macroeconomics to explain how money that did exist was created in the International economy.
    Also, I think for social scientists to create another recession is kind of silly. This ‘separate recession’ is a direct result of the original recession starting as early as late 2007. Though I dont see how it helps to classify it, I would classify it as a very long recession, especially in contrast to 2002 or the late 90’s.

  4. I can say by personal experiences that short term jobs can be the gate way to finding the job you need to get through difficult times. My first job was retail working 16 hours a week 7.50 an hour and because of that job I was able to buy clothes for interviews for my current excellent job that I love, I am now a damage surveyor for a major logistics company in San Diego.

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