Unemployment and the poor economy in regards to housing are critical causes to homelessness today. Finding a good job is getting more challenging in our society, and affordable, safe housing is increasingly more difficult to obtain and maintain. Homeless individuals often struggle with mental illness and do not receive the help and care that they need to function as a working, tax paying member of society. Released prisoners can exit prison with no established plan for their future. At times, they look back on their time spent in prison with longing eyes due to the food and shelter that was provided. Substance abuse is a common addiction for those in the cycle of homelessness, and women fleeing from abusive situations can find themselves alone and without a safe place to rest their heads. Although shelters exist, pride and fear sometimes inhibit the homeless from safe locations, and they end up on the streets, under bridges and anywhere they can shield themselves from the elements.
For daily survival, the homeless beg for food and money. They can be seen rummaging through trash barrels and drinking the melted ice cubes of others thrown away Dunkin Donuts cups. They occupy common corners and struggle to maintain their existence. They find themselves without personal identity and embarrassed of their situation. They will create detailed, make-believe stories of their hardships in hopes that someone will take pity on their state and offer them food or money. Personal hygiene is difficult to maintain on the streets, which can inhibit a homeless person from pursuing employment or education. They are often desperate and find themselves participating in things they never imagined just to survive. They loose their will and their sense of personhood engulfed in a system that is difficult to get out of.