Black Americans are the most residentially challenged people in the United States. This is due to the racial discrimination and the historical injustices associated with the black Americans living in the United States. Homelessness is one of the significant residential challenges that black Americans go through in the various United States. Homelessness can be defined as the lack of usual and enough nighttime residence. Homeliness means sleeping in a shelter created for provisional living housing or living in a shelter that is not meant for human inhabitation. In most instances, the homeless individuals do not have accommodation as they move with their properties with carriers, bags, and baggage’s in any residence they travel around. Person spending the night in residential avenues are more disposed to be fatalities of hostility and injustices due to their conditions. In the United States as a country in general, it is estimated that more than 500,000 people are experiencing homelessness each night (NBC, 2021). This was estimated to be 17 people experiencing homeliness in 10,000 people of the entire population. This paper focuses on homeless in Texas in comparison with the other states based on black people. Secondly, the paper will evaluate the problems the black Americans face injustice system. Finally, it will determine laws, programs, and services that would significantly intervene for black people in the criminal and justice system.
A. State and black Americans in Texas
As earlier mentioned, most half million of the Americas are homeless. This is based on someone being considered residentially challenged if they lack a permanent, steady and suitable nighttime habitation. According to the united states department of housing and urban development report in January 2018, around 552,000 individuals were considered homeless. Approximately 194,000 were desolate and lived in streets, while 359,000 lived in temporary housing. On a single night, the overall homeless population was estimated to be 0.2 % of the U.S population (NBC, 2021). In Texas, most of the population is workers earning a minimum wage, where most are forced to work more than 95 hours a week to afford a residence (USICH, 2021). Thus, most of the population does not have safe and affordable housing. Most families that afford access to affordable housing in Texas tend to spend more than 30% of their revenue towards rent and end up not affording the basic needs such as food, child care, and home repairs.
According to the annual homeless assessment report, many individuals were homeless in Texas last year, with 9.4 in each 10,000 people having undergone vagrancy at specific time all through the year. This was linked with the covid-19 pandemic, which made most people lose their jobs or receive salary cuts as a worse economic impact of the pandemic (Agarwal et al., 2019). Thus, most of the population was unable to pay rent, leading to increased and more permanent issues of homelessness. In Texas, 21,000 individuals, 6,000 individuals in families, 1408 solitary youths, 1900 veterans, and 3800 severely homeless persons underwent homelessness in 2019 (END, 2021). The number was seen to rise in a study in 2020. In 2020 more than 580 000 were experiencing homelessness in the entire country, and homelessness was seen to grow in the last four successive years after the continuous reduction from 2010 to 2016. Also, there was a 7% rise in the population of desolate persons. 2020 also marked the first decade that veteran homelessness declined, and youth homelessness decreased by 2.2 % from 2019 (NBC, 2021). Black Americans were drastically over-denoted among persons experiencing vagrancy. Among all the components of homeliness identified in Texas and the United States, the black Americans were the most overrepresented in each homelessness sector.
Comparing Texas with other states like California, Texas is doing better regarding the number of homeless people. Almost more than half of the Americans are spending night on the avenues of California, which is four times higher than the entire United States population (Agarwal et al., 2019). Most of the cities with the peak rates of vagrancy are in California, namely Sana Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Rosa, Santa Jose, and others in Seattle (END, 2021). Also, comparing Texas with states like Washington D.C, Texas is doing better as the highest homelessness rates are at 103 per 10,000, in Boston, there are 102 per 10,000, and in New York, there are 101 per 10,000. These metropolises each have vagrancy rates that are more than six instances as high as the general U.S rate.
The cause of vagrancy in all the states and cities has been shared, which were associated with high mental illness, substance use, racial injustices, and previous incarceration. According to the housing and urban development annual homelessness report 111, 000 of the vagrancy people, 20% of the population, had a chronic mental disorder. About 86,000 vagrant people, 16 %, underwent through severe drug and substance usage (USICH 2021). Moreover, among all the grown-ups who used housing in 2017, 44% of them had a disability (END, 2021). Also, among the homeless, nine percent of the U.S vagrant had arrested and spend time in prison and other correctional facilities.
The population of the black Americans that were found homeless was high compared to the other people. The blacks were most likely to be incarcerated than their white Americans. This is because of racial inequalities in the justice system. Most of the lack Americans are considered criminals. They are treated harshly by the criminal and justice system, where they are separated from their families, lose their jobs, and end up losing their residences. After their release from jail and other correctional facilities, they are forced to stay in temporary homes and others in unsheltered places such as recreational parks and the streets since they do not have a home. As the data collected by the housing and urban development in 2020, the people of color were found to be the most overrepresented aspect of the population, with over 40% of the entire homelessness in America.
Also, the racial disparities in employment and wealth, most black Americans discriminated against in work are the whites and Asians are more likely to get those opportunities. The blacks get jobs with fewer salaries that even cannot afford to pay for rentals. This increases the risk of African Americans to the threat of homelessness since lack of employment results in homelessness since there is no revenue to pay for the rent. The homeless rate of children, the African Americans, accounted for 52% of the population while the white was 35%, as per the 2018 HUD report (END, 2021). This was significant proof that homelessness among the lacks in the United States is high.
Finally, the historical injustices have triggered the high number of homeless among black Americans in homelessness. In the history of American during the revolution era, the whites owned white tracks of land while the blacks worked as their slaves in their large population (USICH 2021). Africans were denied the right to own properties that included land ownership and were only allowed to reside in the kitchen and estates in the plantations. This denied most black Americans the right to own land and residence where they ended up homeless. This has triggered the threat of homelessness among African Americans resulting in an increased rate of homelessness among the blacks, who make half of the homeless population of the United States.
B. Problem faced by the black Americans in the criminal and justice system
Residentially challenged individuals are highly connected to the criminal justice system challenges. Vagrancy and the criminal justice system are intensively connected. Individuals undergoing the residential challenges ate more prone to interaction with the justice system as they are compelled to live outdoor, which can lead to accusations and arrest for the less severe crimes. People facing fundamental challenges are more probably to relate with the justice system due to being made to live outdoors and being arrested most times. They are suspected of being involved in crimes for less severe crimes. Most homeless people are likely to face crimes that include wandering around aimlessly, spending their nights in recreational areas, stealing due to poverty, and using drugs and substances (Johnson, 2010). Black people are likely to face challenges in obtaining good jobs compared to the other population. Also, considering the historical injustices of the blacks in the unites states, they end up being detached from support and experiencing accommodation and job biases that are likely to affect the residentially challenged people. As one of the minority groups in Texas and the United States in general, Black Americans are amongst the population that faces both general and physical biases in housing, criminal justice, occupation, and other criminal justice-related issues.
Additionally, people who have been sentenced in the past are likely to undergo residential challenges, more so among the blacks than the other people in the society. The stay in prison can make an individual lose a job and a residence and cut their link with their families. After their release, they are likely to face residential challenges. Moreover, people who are likely to have encountered a verdict are probably to face biases in residential and jobs that can divert them from attaining an occupation and household; thus, homelessness tends to become the last option. For study done by a U.K branch of accommodation and metropolitan development, most charged individuals tend to end their joining with their relatives since they lack the necessary backing, which causes more than a half of the residentially challenged people. Also, the threat of vagrancy increases the chance of a person who has been accused with numerous crimes. The prison policy inventiveness recognized that individuals who have been sentenced more than one instant are probably to go through residential challenges.
Also, residential challenges are likely to increase the burden of the taxpayer’s revenue. This is because the homeless people have a typical pattern of arrest and take part more frequently. Homeless crimes are often reported charges that were the only type of crime for which the charges were incurred more regularly in a homeless condition. People were experiencing a long-term challenge of residence in a research conducted in Denver in 2006 an individual undergoing long-term vagrancy in 2006. also, they had made over 24 contacts with the police for 90 days that involved four accusations, an arrest, one jail stay, and other types of contact, such as being ordered to move (USICH 2021). This was estimated to cost more than $4,000 for 90 days considering an individual case. This would negatively affect the criminal and justice system, for most of the resources will be directed to less severe crimes and common due to residential challenges (Johnson, 2010). This can have a severe effect on the criminal justice system due to the issue of homelessness among its population.
Finally, the people who undergo the residential challenges are likely to be suspected of most crimes. This is due most of them are drug and substance users who are likely to be linked to the crimes. Drug use among the homeless is meant to control their mental and psychological effects due to their condition, likely to be connected with crimes (Hopper, 2015). Also, due to lack of a permanent residence and loitering around, the homeless people can be accused of crimes that even they haven’t engaged in because they have no home. Moreover, the movement of the homeless around with their properties can trigger the justice system to accuse them of having stolen those assets that they tend to move around with. Most of the homeless people are financial challenges. In this case, the blacks are racially discriminated against, and thus, the tendency of suspecting them with engagements in criminal activities is high.
On the other hand, when an individual is being sentenced of having done a crime, the juries and the justices play a crucial role in the criminal justice system for penalizing persons. Justices and magistrates attend to the evidence, and as a panel, they settle on guilty or guiltlessness. Whereas, serious hearings, juries listen to the evidence, and if the lawsuit is complex, they engage the panel court hearing. The high court judge may hear the case in severe criminal cases, such as murder or rape, accused on the homeless individual (Hopper, 2015). A justice and a jury have the authority to sentence those sentenced of an offense or serious crimes. For slight offenses, more so vagrant individuals, a jury and the justices can direct a community sentence or recommend other penalties for instance, limiting of freedom.
Afore of the court hearing of a criminal lawsuit, a jury first understands the case through reading the appropriate case materials, for instance, witness statements, displays, and testimonials on claim to be made by any party about the suitability of the evidence in the case. All through the hearing, the magistrate gives all parties time to stage their argument while taking records about the lawful features of the legal action (Johnson, 2010). If the law court discovers the criminal culpable during court procedure, the jury will determine the suitable penalties. The judgment will be made after deliberating numerous elements and ideologies about the law. If the defendant is not contented with the verdict, they can petition the case in the court of appeal.
Relevant laws, procedures, and services to intervene on the issue of homelessness among black Americans
There are various mechanisms to minimize and intervene in the number of homeless people among black Americans. The criminal justice system should develop a tool to identify people who are frequently arrested due to less severe crimes and help them overcome the challenge of homelessness. Working together with the housing and urban development department programs can connect the persons with steady accommodation with no conditions to improve the lifestyle of the black people. The housing First approach is practical for breaking the homelessness-jail cycle (Peterson et al., 2006). For people with complicated needs, this approach can be used in long-lasting, reassuring housing plans that combine lasting rental assistance and supportive services developed to help black Americans and other homeless people uphold accommodation constancy.
According to an evaluation of the frequent user’s service enhancement supportive housing programs in New York identified that after two years, more than 85 % of the respondents remained housed, and they tended to spend 40% less time in jail. The yearly jail and shelter housing was more than $ 8,000 lower than the comparison group, and their crisis health care costs were more than $ 7000 lowers (NBC, 2021). The frequent user’s service enhancement program is estimated to cost around $ 23,000 per individual in total yearly public funding, but 67% of that cost was counterbalanced by about $ 16,000 average annual reduction in jail, shelter, and crisis health care costs (Peterson et al., 2006). This implies that supportive housing can help people improve their lives while reducing taxpayers’ costs by mitigating the harmful impacts of the homeless-jail cycle.
The social service provides financial education on black Americans to solve issues related to homelessness. The social services educate the black Americans on how to survive with the salaries and afford to pay for their rentals while still having their other basic needs. This would help to educate them with skills on better money management. Some black people face the threat of homelessness due to a lack of proper education and knowledge about using the money they have to solve the problems they might be facing.
Housing and urban development can provide financial assistance interventions through housing subsidies. This would ensure that all the individuals have equal access to housing despite their income and help to minimize the threat of homelessness among the blacks. Also, the HUD can help find accommodation and rental supplements necessary for reducing the inequalities in the housing and homelessness injustices that black Americans go through.
Similarly, compensated work therapy would significantly reduce homelessness among black people. This policy would be significant as it helps the government develop a mechanism to employ the black Americans more so those at old age provide vocational training and equip them with jobs (Peterson et al., 2006). This would ensure that every black has income to afford to pay rent and minimize homelessness. On individual placement and support would be significant to aid those black individuals who might be disabled to grant them houses and the support they may need to end homelessness. The income assistance intervention by the social services would have long-term benefits for other health and wellbeing outcomes.
The court of laws in the united states can use their jurisdiction to help reduce homelessness; when an individual is involved in a crime due to homelessness, they should be given a specific penalty that does not entail severe punishment. Then the court, through the existing laws on the United States Constitution that guarantee equal treatment among the Americans. Therefore they should be upheld and order the individual to be provided with house subsidies, financial assistance, work, and even housing depending on the condition of an individual; this can help reduce homelessness among the individuals.
The medical professional can provide medical assistance to the black Americans who are most involved in drug and substance abuse by providing health guidance on the negative implications of drugs on their health, mental and social life (Zhang et al., 2021). This would help them change their lifestyle and become valuable members of the country who will engage in economic activities and raise their rentals. Also, the medical professional can help to identify the mentally challenge individual and provide the necessary advice to the government department to provide housing to them. Finally, to those with disabilities, the health professional should determine the most severe disabilities that require more housing assistance more than other blacks Americans.
Homelessness is one of the significant threats affecting the United States and, more so, Texas State. This menace has affected mainly the black Americans who were found to form the most homeless people in the United States. Texas is relatively doing well compared to other states like California, Washington, and New York. Homelessness is linked to the criminal justice system due to the contacts made among the homeless and the justice apparatus and increased incarceration rate, resulting in high homelessness. The blacks have been the highest in homelessness due to discrimination in employment, historical injustices, and racial disparities.
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END, 2021. https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/homelessness-statistics/state-of-homelessness-report-legacy/
Hopper, K. (2015). Reckoning with homelessness. Cornell University Press.
Johnson, R. A. (2010). African Americans and homelessness: Moving through history. Journal of Black Studies, 40(4), 583-605.
NBC 2021. https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/texas-news/report-findings-show-a-5-3-increase-in-homelessness-in-texas-last-year/2583589/
Peterson, P. L., Baer, J. S., Wells, E. A., Ginzler, J. A., & Garrett, S. B. (2006). Short-term effects of a brief motivational intervention to reduce alcohol and drug risk among homeless adolescents. Psychology of addictive behaviors, 20(3), 254.
RICH 2021. https://www.usich.gov/news/hud-releases-2020-annual-homeless-assessment-report-part-1/
Zhang, J., Wu, Q., & Slesnick, N. (2021). Social problem-solving and suicidal ideation among homeless youth receiving a cognitive therapy intervention: a moderated mediation analysis. Behavior therapy, 52(3), 552-563.