Homelessness is permanent and chronic
Oftentimes when people think of those who experience homelessness, they see a lifelong affliction – assuming that those who become homeless remain homeless. This prevalent belief creates a discouraging outlook for all those involved.
The idea that homelessness is permanent could not be further from the truth. Sure, there are individuals who experience what is known as “chronic homelessness” defined as experiencing homelessness for more than a year. According to the most recent Point-In-Time (PIT) count, on a given night this past January, those experiencing chronic homelessness accounted for 24% of the total homeless population. While that may seem like a small percentage, it is certainly significant in realizing that the vast majority of the “homeless” have a lifestyle and pattern of homelessness that is completely misunderstood by the general public.
For the purposes of fulfilling the mission of Trojan Shelter, it is important to analyze the populations of students experiencing homelessness at USC specifically. Students at USC and other that generally experience temporary homelessness suffer for a variety of reasons. As shown through research from the Coalition for the Homeless, populations experiencing chronic homelessness often battle deadly drug addiction, serious mental illness, developmental disabilities, and discouraged mindsets who have already “given up” on life. Of course, some of the students at USC and other schools will surely share some of these characteristics, but the level of despair that comes with being “chronically homeless” is far more difficult to surmount than the experiences of temporary homelessness.
Sometimes for the chronically homeless, offering resources is not enough. Many of these individuals have, and will continue to, refuse help, as they have adjusted to a long-term pattern of chronic, dehumanizing homelessness. For more than 75% of the homeless population experiencing less severe forms of homelessness, the battles they face are no less serious, however these individuals are often in better positions to get back on track with the proper support and services.
Homelessness can happen to anyone. It is a situation that can occur as quick as missing a rent payment and getting evicted the next day––those students are now homeless. However, this fast, indiscriminate condition is by no means a death sentence and is just a matter receiving the right services.
US Department of Housing and Urban Development
About the author:
Luke Bartini is a member of the Media Committee at Trojan Shelter. His primary roles within the team lie in technical support, web development, and graphic design. Luke is a sophomore studying Business Administration in the Marshall School of Business at USC, and Applied Computer Security in the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC. Aside from Trojan Shelter, Luke holds leadership positions in Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity, and is an active member of USC Trojan Investing Society, and the USC Trojan Real Estate Association. Luke has aspirations of working somewhere in the business world, and has experience in Real Estate, Finance, Private Equity, and Media Management Solutions. He is an extremely active, outdoorsy explorer with a passion for capturing the world through his camera lens, searching for the next great experience, wherever that may be.