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Homelessness in Australia

Topicality of the Issue in Focus

Nowadays, nursing is a very important profession because more and more people start to have problems with their health, and by the age of 55, people need to hire nurses to look after them. Nurses have to understand reasons of such problems. Childhood obesity, dementia and homelessness are considered to be main reasons for health concerns. The essay is devoted to homelessness as one of the negative impacts of social imbalance.

Homelessness as a Negative Social Phenomenon

Homelessness as a negative social phenomenon is widespread all over the world. Unfortunately, a help from the government for homeless people is slowed down and is not always effective. This issue of homelessness is well known but not solved. Until the problem is dealt with, homelessness basically magnetizes other negative effects. Homelessness is one of the global problems of humanity, consisting in the absence of the possibility to house a large number of people around the world. It is generated by various causes of global, regional and local importance, both with subjective and objective nature. Homelessness can be chronic or situational, it can be voluntary or involuntary (Bone & O'Reilly 2010). Homeless people (from the abbreviation, homeless refers to - "no fixed place for living") are the poor urban dwellers who do not have houses, live in inhospitable areas (basements, attics, sewers, and landfills), and lead the anti-social way of life. Homeless people have a characteristic appearance: the weathered, blackened face, unwashed hair, dirty, smelly clothes. Homelessness is a result of unsuccessful economic and governmental strategies. It is a final stage, which is very negative in perception and understanding of culture and its future development. Such situation is vivid in all countries including Australia.

Reasons of Homelessness

Homelessness is a learnt phenomenon. It is not inherited since it occurs because of bad living conditions and some vicious habits of people. The reasons that can lead to homelessness are discussed in various books and sources. Marmot and Wilkinson (2003) point out different determinants of health issues from a very wide and socially focused perspective (Fitzpatrick, Kemp & Klinker 2000). This essay discusses unemployment, early marriage and stress.

Unemployment

Unemployment is an unfavorable situation in the society when its citizens do not have work and opportunity to work. If people do not work, they do not have interest in their life, they feel bored, they do not develop their skills, they feel not needed and they do not want to start something new. They are usually depressed, and have not very much to do. Consequently, such disillusioned individuals come to miserable conditions. They lack opportunities and they do not have any plans for future (Caruana 2011). Financial problems make them sell their accommodations and stay in the street. People become homeless without money and such situation turns into a negative social determinant.

Poverty

Poverty is a characteristic of the economic situation of the individual or social group in which they cannot meet a certain range of the minimum requirements needed for life, work capacity and procreation. Poverty is a relative concept that depends on the general standard of living in the community. In Australia, a family of two adults and two children who receive less than 452 Australian dollars per week (about 300 U.S. dollars) is considered to be poor. The cost of housing is at least one-third of this amount (except for subsidized public housing, which is lacking). Single non-working mother with one child receives care at a rate of almost 240 Australian dollars per week. The poor do not starve in Australia and even drive their own cars, but they still have to make ends meet.

Low-income Australians in search of affordable housing are concentrated in poor areas of cities, where it is even harder to find a job. The country continues to increase the social contrast between rich and poor areas. Tell someone that you live in a poor area, it would be like to drop yourself in the eyes of other people. Some of the new arrivals, namely immigrants in Sydney, specifically settled in the affluent neighborhood or in a rich district to improve their chances of employment during the job search.

In contrast to the previous study, which was carried out twenty years ago, most of the poor do not currently belong to a group of elderly and the unemployed. In 1997, according to the country's official data, about 8.5% of the workforce could not find a job. In 2000, the number of unemployed fell to 7%, and nearly 250,000 people were unemployed for more than one year. Theoretically, you can remain unemployed for your entire life, and you will be obliged to regularly pay financial assistance. Australian journalists argue about the existence of certain families in which there are already three generations of registered unemployed. One of the paradoxes of social welfare in Australia so far is that a family with two adults and children is sometimes financially advantageous to receive a pension despite the problem of unemployment when only one member of the family works with low salary. The question then arises: where do the unemployed parents get money to educate their children, or to buy cigarettes, drugs and make constant relatively expensive calls on mobile phones? Some even claimed that poverty in Australia is not a financial problem as its main reason is misconduct or character weaknesses of unemployed people (the inability to settle their financial affairs, lack of motivation, reluctance or refusal to be involved in an undervalued work).The most difficult task is to find jobs for people of mature age, who are over forty or fifty. Personally, I know examples of people who have applied to various institutions over the years (in Australia, the unemployed should write at least two job applications every two weeks), but none of the organizations invited them for an interview. On the other hand, some of the young slackers cannot force themselves to open a newspaper to find job listings, and then come to the doctor in order to make a hindsight revealing that they were depressed or have had a headache for weeks, so they could not look for a job.

Family Misunderstanding

Early marriages are usually the very important part in human life. They have a lot of disadvantages and advantages. In most cases, young couples do not understand the situation clearly and cannot make adequate decisions (Caruana 2011). The young wife and husband have romantic expectations as they used to communicate freely and get along with each other. However, immediately faced with domestic problems - the mountains of dirty dishes, laundry, shopping and cooking, their customary world turns upside down. Time for friends is not enough. Women are tired and desperate. The emerging misunderstanding can serve as one of the reasons for divorce (Doherty 2001). In fact, divorced people lose their possessions very quickly.

Problems in the family also appear after the birth of the child. If the cause of early marriage was pregnancy, young parents have to forget about all their former pleasures and joys, and suddenly change their entire lifestyle. Even the appearance of a mature child's family is stressful, completely changing the habitual way (Caruana 2011).

Another problem is living together with parents since it is the inability of a young family to live according to their own principles. If there is no separate apartment, living together with their parents and even their full or partial presence is a situation with quarrels, squabbles, and lack of understanding.

Conclusion

Homelessness is a complicated phenomenon, which can result from different factors, such as unemployment, early marriages and stress. Unemployment leads to financial instability, which makes people sell their flats or houses with a hope to buy a new one when they will get an opportunity to earn money again. Although, everything happens the other way round in reality. It is still too complicated for homeless people to earn money and they stay in the street. Stress leads to a drug or alcohol addiction, which makes people lose their places and houses, and the only way out they get is to live outside. Early marriages can also be a root of all these problems. A young family often has to live together with somebody. This fact is accompanied by quarrels, problems with alcohol to compensate stress, conflicts with children, and, as a result, somebody of this family becomes homeless. It is possible to say that all these factors are dependent on each other. Nevertheless, it is obvious that there are factors, which do not depend on people, they depend more on the general world situation. For this reason, it is necessary to say there is no person who is totally protected from the possibility of stress and early marriages. Nurses must understand the causes of different illnesses and try to help such people in order to prevent fatal consequences. Governments of all countries must take care of their inhabitants and control social determinants discussed earlier. Australia does not rank first in the category of general well-being of its society. Australian climate is not perfect, many people do not want to live in this country, and the government does not pay a proper attention to problems of its citizens. People who work as nurses in Australia have to take possible reasons of health concerns, such as stress, unemployment and early marriages, into account. If nurses understand all these questions, they will know more about how to help such people.

In Australia, as in other Western countries, scientists have finally begun to recognize and study the relationship between health and social status of people (Bryant & Pini 2009). It turned out that people belonging to the most disadvantaged sections of society (low socioeconomic group) are much more likely to have cardiovascular diseases than wealthy people. In Australian villages (where people mostly are not wealthy), the incidence of cardiovascular diseases is 30% higher than in the cities. There may be several explanations for this fact. First, it is, of course, the worst food (due to carelessness and low culture as well as the amount of money not enough for consumption of healthy food). Second, an unhealthy lifestyle in general (the poor smoke more cigarettes, drink alcohol excessively, do less physical exercise). Third, a sense of powerlessness, despair and failure of plans and ambitions lead to undesirable hormonal and mental disorders, which in turn can contribute to the development of obesity and depression. One in five unemployed men abuse drugs and one in five unemployed women suffer from mental illness (state of extreme anxiety or depression).