Calli D. Louisiana

Poverty and Homelessness In America

I am a junior from Lafayette, Louisiana. As a high school student, I have noticed the changes in our country involving education, jobs, and poverty. Homelessness and poverty are growing issues in our country.

Dear Mr. President,

As you are surely aware, the United States has fallen into vast debt. The country’s debt grows to a greater problem than it has been in history. With debt comes poverty. As a young, educated student, I am concerned with the rising number of impoverished citizens in our country. This consistent rise of poverty will one day directly affect my job, family, and opportunities. Around 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness each year. Continuing in the direction we are headed in, the future will consist of too many low-wage jobs. To quote President Reagan, “We fought a war against poverty and poverty won.” To fix this problem, you must be willing to sacrifice boldly, serve valiantly, and lead wisely.

Although many believe homelessness and poverty create issues in our country, some say the problem continues to decrease. These people say majority of the poor will not experience food or hunger shortages. For most Americans, the word “poverty” means near destitution. This means there lies an inability to provide clean clothing, acceptable shelter, and healthy food for one’s family. People should be able to live comfortably and be confident in their ability to make ends meet. A stressful household does not provide a stable household. Those of the opposing viewpoint tend to bring up the idea of converting warehouses and hotels into dormitory-style shelters. Sticking a person in a shelter will not solve the issue. The homeless and impoverished must learn skills on how to grow into a functioning member of society.

As mentioned above, one of the major contributing factors to increasing poverty is the growing amount of low-wage jobs and less jobs overall. Our country’s well-paying jobs in the industry disappeared to other countries. New jobs replaced those that were lost, but paid less than the previous jobs. A quarter of the jobs in our country pay less than the poverty line, which is $22,000 for a four-person family. A second problem includes the loss of the safety net for the poorest of the poor. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and food stamps do not get people to half of the poverty line in most of the states. Seven million innocent women and children lie in the 20.5 million experiencing deep poverty. This nation’s economy must improve in order to give those with low-wage jobs and those without jobs the ability to function as citizens without struggling constantly to make ends meet.

Studies have shown another way to lower the number of homeless in our nation. Providing services for the homeless becomes crucial to pulling the homeless out of the hole they are stuck in. Such services include classes on life and budgeting skills and rehabilitation for drugs and alcohol. Allowing affordable housing without offering these services has been proven less effective in the long run. The Hub, a non-profit organization in Shreveport, Louisiana, provides proof of this argument. The Hub offers a safe, caring place for the impoverished people of Shreveport to grow as citizens. Those involved at this non-profit organization sponsor classes and lectures to motivate and encourage those people in need. Likewise, Father Joe’s Villages in San Diego follows the same premise. Their innovative formula for services and programs has been endorsed as a prototype by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Implementing more of these organizations can begin the journey to ending poverty in our country.

A number of people every day go without nutritious food, without acceptable shelter, and without clean clothes. Most homeless people have neither cars, nor air-conditioning which you and I take for granted every day. I ask you, sir, to consider your friends, your family, your high-school classmates, your college teammates in this position. How hard would you work free those you love from poverty? Being unable to provide for one’s own children or spouse should be feared for most. You cannot conquer this problem alone. Americans must be willing to support you and stand by your side. We must work together as one nation under God to nurture each of His children. We must work together diligently to make our country thrive. We must work together without discrimination to free those bound in chains of poverty.


Calli D.


Edelman, Peter. "The State of Poverty in America." Poverty and Homelessness, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2014. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 11 Nov. 2016. Originally published in American Prospect, 22 June 2012.

Fagan, Kevin. "Homelessness Is Declining." Poverty and Homelessness, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2009. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 10 Nov. 2016. Originally published as "U.S. Homeless Numbers Decline" in San Francisco Chronicle, 14 May 2006, p. A3.

Romeo, Jim. "Homelessness in America Is a Growing Problem." Poverty and Homelessness, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2009. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 10 Nov. 2016. Originally published as "A Roof of One's Own: Homelessness Is Growing, but Solutions Are Out There" in Planning, vol. 71, no. 11, Dec. 2005, pp. 12-16.