Homelessness, defined as an individual without permanent housing who may live on the streets is an increasing epidemic plaguing the United States; striking Americans of every age, ethnicity, and religion, hitting urban and rural communities in the same ways. Homelessness is an economic problem, and is also affected by a number of social and political factors. The rates of homeless individuals, who fit the definition of homeless, continue to rise on a daily basis. In a census report in January 2014 there were over 500,000 homeless people in the United States alone. A couple of examples that lead to the rise in homelessness are high cost of living and low wage jobs, often forcing many people to choose between paying their bills and feeding their families. People become homeless for a variety of reasons, some of the leading causes include but are not limited to, domestic violence, mental illness, low wages and unemployment. .
Domestic violence is one of the major causes of homelessness among women and children. Domestic violence is defined as emotionally or physically controlling an intimate partner, One in four women experience this. When an abused woman tries to leave her abuser she often has nowhere to go and is forced to find shelter to remain safe and free of abuse. When a battered woman seeks shelter, one of the challenges she runs into is shelters that are packed to capacity and she is often left with nowhere to turn. An abuser usually a boyfriend, husband or intimate partner will alienate a woman from various resources, not allowing her to work to make her own money or keep in contact with her family. Another challenge for these women is the lack of affordable housing available to them once on their feet. The long waiting list for assisted housing often means many women and their children are forced to choose the abuser and a home or living on the streets.
Mental illness is one of the main causes of homelessness in America.