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Albuquerque Heading Home

215 Third St, SW

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Phone: 505 226-1700
Fax: 505 226-1705
March 1st, 2016
As a project of my class, I am writing this report about the effects of homelessness to our
society in New Mexico particularly as well as United States generally. I chose this topic in order
to increase the awareness of people about homelessness as a national issue and how it involves in
many social problems.
This report shows how homelessness could impact our society in different levels
economy, social security, education, and health of the community.
Thank you for your time.
Khiem Bui


February 25th, 2016

Homelessness has become a huge issue in modern US society that impacts all peoples lives and
the economy of the country as well as many other aspects. Every day, there are thousands of
people who are still living on the street and who are in need of help. Generally, homeless people
all have very similar problems such as poverty, mental illnesses, lack of housing, jobs, substance
abuse, domestic violence, and criminal history that pushes them out on to the street. New
Mexico, where I currently live, has the thirteenth highest rate of food insecurity in the nation and
is tied with Mississippi for the highest poverty rate. Approximately 17000 people in New Mexico
are homeless, including 5000 children in Albuquerque public school who do not have a place to
live (Janet Page Reeves). This in some stage can shock people for reading these statistics.
Moreover, the society can be impacted by homelessness in a number of different aspects such as
economic, health, education, and national security. The effects of homelessness can be classified
into every level of society from those people who live in such situations to the social leaders
who try to solve for solutions.
Literature review:
Operating and maintaining homeless support service systems such as shelter bed, medical
services, and law enforcement on homeless are costly ventures. Apparently, the costs are mostly
come from the taxpayers and donations. Dennis Culhane (2008) has emphasized that
homelessness is way more expensive to society than the costs of solving the problem. Yet, many
public education campaigns and newspapers periodically make a simple case that the cost of
housing homeless is cheaper than the cost of a shelter bed, hospital emergency room, or prison
cell. Because the funds for homelessness are limited, which means the homeless services can

only provide the most basic needs to those people. As the result, homeless people have to find
other ways to help them afford their needs that could lead them to violate the laws or even
commit the crimes.
Homelessness could be found as the influence to children, the future of our country. Ashley
DeMarcus (2005) has discovered the effects that homelessness has on childrens education,
mental well-being, and physical health.
I have chosen this topic in order to increase the awareness of people toward homelessness and
how it involves in many social problems. In other words, the purpose of the report is to analyze
how homelessness impacts the society in many different ways such as economic, health,
education, and national security.
In order to analyze how homelessness influence the society, I set up several interviews with some
people who work for New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness (NMCEH), APD, and
hospital, which take place in the third week of February. As I go along with the interviews, I also
use Internet and scholar journal to help me obtain the data that shows the costs of homelessness
to the society. The information I get from these data and interviews could help me to see how
homelessness impacts society in different levels economy, social security, education, and health
of community.
For surveying people who could never be in homeless situation, it may give them difficulty to
imagine how people live in homeless and how homelessness could affect society. Moreover, the

data and statistic in the report have been researched and collected since several years ago, so they
do not give the exact current statistics.

In the conversation with an agent of New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness and
also based on their website, a homeless person could cost the taxpayers up to
$40,000/year just to keep that person stay alive. The cost is including food supply, shelter

bed, medication services, and law enforcement.

The cost of supported housing intervention is $17,200 per unit per year.
According to Million-Dollar-Murray, the police department documented that up to

$100,000 is the cost for one homeless man due to court, jail, and police enforcement.
In the interview with Huan Nguyen, an APD officer, nearly 35% of criminal cases are
involved to homeless population. Most of them are related to violence crimes, drug uses,

public harassment, he said.

According to Barley Melekian, the lieutenant of Santa Monica police department, the
grown of homeless population causes some social problems such as: the conflict over the
use of public facilities, public demands for enforcement action against activities that are
often only marginally criminal, and the need to provide police service to an economically

disenfranchised class of people.

According to a research project has been done by Ashley DeMarcus, she discovered the
many effects that homelessness has childrens education, mental well-being, and physical
health. Based on the research, she found that:
A homeless child faces rather discouraging barriers to his or her academic success,

provided that he or she is able to continue attending school.

Homeless children have four times the rate of delayed development, are suspended

twice as often as non-homeless children.

Homeless children are at a greater risk for detrimental effects on their IQ and poor
academic achievement.

Homeless children have four times as many respiratory infections and five times as

many stomach and diarrheal infections.

Homeless children experience twice as many emergency hospitalizations, and four

times the rate of asthma as non-homeless children.

Homeless children have six times as many speech and stammering problems.
Based on the data from research has done by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service
Administration in 2010, they found that:
26.2 % of all shelter persons who were homeless had a severe mental illness.
34.7% of all sheltered adults who were homeless had chronic substance use issues.
Over 60% of people who are chronically homeless have experienced lifetime mental

health problems.
Over 80% have experienced lifetime alcohol and/or drug problems.
Over 92% of mothers who are homeless have experienced severe physical and/or

sexual abuse during their lifetime.

About 50% of homeless mothers have experienced a major depression since
becoming homeless.

The cost of Homelessness (2010)





Cost per night per person (In dollars)







Mexico Facilities

Figure 1 Statistics provided by New Mexico Coalition to end homelessness.

Number of homeless vs shelter beds (2012)








Persons in homeless families

Number of family shelter beds

New Mexico


Figure 1 Statistic provided by Newmexico Coalition to end homelessness.

In what way do you think homelessness impacts our nation the most?

Agreed person





Figure 2 Survey question

Do you think homeless people became homeless is completely of their fault?


Number of people voted 10




Figure 3 Survey question

Do you have negative feeling toward homeless people?




Number of people voted






Figure 4 Survey question

There are thousands of homeless people are still on the street and they still have to deal with their
problems every single day. Supportive housing, training young homeless adults, and helping
people who have addictions and mental illnesses are several helpful ways to end homelessness.

Moreover, we should work together to solve this problem and help the homeless people in many
ways. We can help them with very small actions such as bringing comfort to them, donating food
and helpful materials, helping homeless vets, giving homeless people a voice, or getting the
government involved. By the way we act, we can make them feel much better and supported to
rebuild their lives.
In my opinions, before we can even think about the influence of homelessness to us or how to
help ending homelessness, we need to understand and accept that homeless people are carrying
the weight of the label, the shame associated with being a homeless person, and none of them
want to be homeless. By choosing to say someone is experiencing homelessness rather than
labeling them a homeless person has the power to make it different. Every day, there is 44,000
homeless people around us who can be amazing mothers, fathers, leaders, innovators, happier,
healthier. I really believe the language we use, the attitude we have, the judgments we make,
have a potential power to bring those people home and to change the world that we are living.

Works Cited
Barney Melekian. Police and the Homelessness. Rep. Santa Monica Police Department, n.d.
Corinth, Kevin. The Economics of Homelessness. Rep. University of Chicago, n.d. Web.
Reeves, Janet Page. "Commentary: The Nexus of Poverty, Hunger, and Homelessness in New
Mexico." Social Justice 38 (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
SAMHSA. Current Statistics on the Prevalence and Characteristics of People Experiencing
Homelessness in the United States. Rep. N.p. Print.
Spellman, Brooke, Jil Khaddui, Brian Sokol, and Josh Leopold. Costs Associated With FirstTime Homelessness for Families and Individuals. Rep. N.p.: n.p., 2010. Web.
Turnbull, Jeffrey, Wendy Muckle, and Christina Masters. "Homelessness and Health." Canadian
Medical Association or Its Licensors (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
Culhane, D. P. (2008). The Cost of Homelessness: A Perspective from the United States.
European Journal of Homelessness, 97-114.
De Marcus, Ashley, "How Homelessness Affects Children & Their Education" (2005).
University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects.
New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness. 2015 Albuquerque Point in Time Count Report.
Rep. Web.

Since the first time I came to New Mexico, I have been seeing so many homeless people
on the street every day when I am going to school or hanging out with my friends, most of them
have similar health problem such as mental illness, drug abuse, physical disability, emotional and
behavior problem. I was then doing some research about homelessness in New Mexico to see
what causes them to live on the street. And then I found out that homelessness is a huge issue not
only in New Mexico in particular, but also in America in general. The government has been
trying to solve this problem for many decades, but it isnt getting any better; otherwise, the
homeless population is even increasing. As I was digging deeply into this problem, I was
shocked for knowing the costs that homelessness brings to this country is unimaginable, I found
out that homelessness does not only cost the national economy and taxpayer, homelessness also
affects the nation in many other aspects such as social security, community health, and children
who are the future of the nation. Therefore, I decide to choose homelessness as a topic for my
report and I also want people to see the effects that homelessness brings to the society where we
live in and how the government takes care of this problem.
This is the first time I do the analytical report in which I have to search for both primary
sources and secondary sources, so I get some struggles in targeting people or organizations that I
can get information from. It takes me more than a day to think about what I am going to do in
order to overcome those struggles. Then, I decide to bring up those difficulties to my professor
Breanne and ask for advices. She gives me several good ideas which help me a lot in researching
for primary sources. In the report, I do the survey to 38 people and interview two agents from
New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness (NMCEH) and Albuquerque Police Department,
which gives me so many experiences about collecting data and interviewing people. I conceive

that this is a fortune to have chances to interview and talk to those people. In the conversation
with the worker of NMCEH, she provides so much information and statistic of homelessness that
could help me in doing my research paper as well as help me gaining the awareness of
homelessness as a national issue. In the interview with Huan Dang, an APD officer, he showed
me how homelessness impacts social security as well as how it involved in criminal rate.
One more thing that gives me a hard time is how to put together all the data and statistics
that I collected from doing researches and to make them understandable to my audiences. In
order to solve that, I go CAPS for help as well as look over many samples of the analytical report
that I found on the internet. I have learned a lot from doing these things. I learn how to make my
result more sense and to make the report look more professional. Finally, the draft of my report is
basically completed and just waiting to be revised.

- What are some statistics that show the influence of homelessness to the state economy?

- In what ways does homelessness cost the government and taxpayers?

* APD: (Officer Huan Dang)

- Do many homeless people involve in criminal actions?

- How does homelessness impact the social security?

In what way do you think homelessness impacts our nation the most?
o Economy and taxpayers
o National security
o Community health
o Education
o Employment
o Others
Do you think homeless people became homeless is completely because of their fault?
o -Yes
o -No
Do you have negative feeling toward homeless people?
o -Yes
o -No
o -Sometimes
In what do you think would be a good idea to help homeless people?

o Donate food and money.

o Treat their health problems.
o Increase the number of supportive housing.
o Train their skills and ability to help them find a job.
o Help homeless children to afford school.
What the most health problem do you see homeless people struggle with?

Mental illness
Drug abuse
Physical disability
Bronchitis and pneumonia
Wound and skin infections
Problems caused by being outdoors
Emotional and behavior problems