What are the effects of homelessness?

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There are a number of kinds of effects of homelessness.  These include:

  • Effects on physical health.  Homeless people are much more likely than others to suffer from a variety of physical illnesses such as tuberculosis.  They are more likely to be victims of violent crime.
  • Effects on mental health.  Homeless people are much more likely than others to be mentally ill or to have substance abuse problems.  Of course, this is to some extent a cause of homelessness.  However, being homeless also causes such problems in people who did not have them before.  It makes people feel worthless since our society measures success in material terms.  It also impacts homeless children, making them more vulnerable to things like depression and delayed development.
  • Economic effects.  Once a person becomes homeless, it is much harder to get back into a "normal" life.  They have, for example, a hard time finding work as they may not be able to do things like showering that will make them look good for an interview.  They may lack an address that they can use, which is often a must for getting a job.

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