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Word Count: 543
Homelessness condition of people who lack regular legal access to housing Homelessness has been recognized as a significant social problem in the United States since the early 1980s when an increase in the number of homeless people was caused by a weak economy and cuts in federal aid for housing and income assistance Other periods of increased homelessness also have occurred many times in history including during the colonial era Most other industrialized societies also have experienced increases in homeless populations in recent decades The number of homeless people in the United States has been an arguable issue for a while Advocates for the homeless claim that there are several million homeless people however recent studies suggest that the homeless number from 600000 to 700000 Exact numbers are impossible to collect because researchers define homelessness in different ways and because the homeless are transitory The number of people predicted to become homeless in any given year is estimated to be three to five times the number of people who are homeless at any given moment The US Census Bureau attempted to count homeless people in the 1990 census However most people consider this attempt as a failure The homeless population is largely made up of adult men but the number of women children and youth has steadily increased This group now comprises more than 40 percent of the total homeless population Most homeless people are also extremely poor and separated from their families and other social networks About one-third of the adult homeless are chronically mentally ill and about half are alcoholic or abuse drugs During the 1950s most homeless people were older white alcoholic men associated with the rundown sections of cities known as skid rows Todays homeless however are mostly non-white relatively young with an average age in the middle 30s and include a large number of women and children About one-third of homeless men are veterans In addition to the
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