What are economic impact, business impact and environmental impact on homelessness? Provide support for the response.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The issue of homelessness creates impacts on multiple levels.  This illuminates how challenging of an issue it actually is.  In terms of impacting businesses, homelessness creates the reality of altering the perceptions that businesses would like to create for its patrons.  In a business setting, companies would like to create nothing disturbing the trend of consumers spending money. However, homelessness brings the real world into full collision with the business desire for the consumer to spend money: 

"Its devastating for people to be faced with homelessness when they are eating or shopping," says Richard L. Friedman, managing general partner of the Charles Square Complex. "There's often a reaction of fear or disgust or avoidance."

For the setting that wishes to not have anything disrupt the connection between consumer spending and the business, homelessness poses distinct challenges because it forces questions to be asked and issues to be raised: "If you're running a business, it affects it...There's a fine line and the police have to decide where to draw it... its a difficult situation."  This "fine line" and "difficult situation" demonstrates how the issue of homelessness impacts businesses.  It magnifies reality in a situation where business owners seek to evade it.

Economically, the issue of homelessness is quite significant.  Millions of dollars are spent on initiatives to support homeless individuals.  Many of these programs do little to solve the problem.  They represent an attempt to address an issue that is larger than the scope of the various legislative initiatives. Homelessness initiatives exact resources for "programs and  services to assist the homeless, such as housing,  food preparation and distribution, transportation  and mental health counseling."  Further money is spent on the arrest and legal processing of homeless individuals in the legal system.  From an economic point of view, the issue of homelessness exacts much in way of money spent on a reality that never changes. Each year, money is spent on an issue that does not leave, reflecting an idea that the definition of insanity is doing something repeatedly and expecting a different result.  At the same time, an untold amount of money is lost on the premise of individuals who could be capable and earning members of the social order and are not doing so.  If a fraction of the homeless population could be armed with work and be able to pay taxes, more income could be generated.  In this regard, one can see another impact of homelessness in terms of lost money and funds being generated.

Homelessness creates environmental impacts.  As people who are homeless are turned away from businesses and the use of public facilities, they must use public areas in order to relieve themselves.  The presence of human waste in public water causes an environmental impact connected to homelessness.  At the same time, human habitation in natural settings creates a sense of imbalance within the homeostatic condition of nature.  Homelessness is not natural in terms of how human beings who were once apart of nature are forced to live in it.  The need for survival sometimes can preclude environmental awareness and understanding, thereby showing how homelessness causes environmental impacts.

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