The Stewart McKinney Act of 1987 defines a homeless person as Aone who .
lacks a fixed permanent nighttime residence, or whose nighttime residence is .
a temporary shelter, welfare hotel or any public or private place not .
designated as sleeping accommodations for human beings. Included in the .
homeless population are people who stay with friends or family for a short .
period of time and then decide to find shelter on the streets because of .
conflict with the people whom they are staying with, or because of personal .
In the early 1980s homelessness was determined to be a major problem in the .
United States. These years saw a steep rise in the number of homeless, due .
to poor economy and diminishing financial help for housing and income. The .
homeless consist of all types, races, and ages of people. A large portion of .
the homeless population consists of men but the number of women and .
children living on the streets is on the rise. Current statistics show that .
women and children now make up around forty percent of the homeless .
population. According to John J. Macionis one third of homeless people .
abuse drugs and one fourth are mentally ill. The current homeless population .
is mostly non-white and has an average age of the middle thirties. Veterans .
make up about one-third of the total number of homeless men. The homeless .
all suffer from absolute poverty. As stated in 1995 by the United States .
government, 36 million people or 13.8% of the population was poor. The .
government defines a family of four as being poor if they generate a yearly .
income of $15,569 or less, although the average improvised families income .
was only around $10,000 in 1995. The Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics .
states, the average annual income of the homeless in Chicago was $1198 in .
Perhaps we should not be surprised that one percent of our population, for .
one reason or another is unable to cope with our complex and highly .