has fundamental needs necessary for a healthy lifestyle.
This paper tries to define these necessary requirements of life.
It also talks about the individuals who are lacking some of
life’s basic needs and how they came to this state of living.
The paper also talks about the affect that technology has made
on some people’s lives. In conclusion, if gives a suggested
solution to the problem of homelessness that can also help everyone.
of homelessness spreads across all different nationalities,
racial groups, ages, and genders. The reasons people become
homeless are just as diverse as the people. But one common
trait among them is the fact that these people are all lacking
some basic human needs. These essential needs include
more than the obvious needs such as food, water, shelter, and
clothing; humans also have emotional and spiritual needs that
need to be satisfied. Some people with an abundance of
material objects and are still not content with their life,
because they are not fulfilling the emotional or spiritual needs
of the soul. With the advancement of technology, is it
making life easier to provide for these basic needs or is it
making the problem worst? The question is difficult to
answer. In some matters technology is improving life,
while in others it is making living more troublesome.
With the growth of knowledge, some people are neglecting the
spiritual needs of humans. In order to move the homeless
off the streets, the physical and spiritual needs must be fulfilled.
By implementing technology to satisfy these two main needs,
homelessness can be an object of the past.
Basic Human Needs
on the streets has different individual needs that are not being
fulfilled. The requirements of human satisfaction can
be classified into different categories ranging from financial
to emotional fulfillment. Pleasing the fundamental needs
of humans goes deeper than just obtaining financial wealth.
Milton Meltzer, a biographer and historian who graduated from
Columbia University, quotes writer, Peter Townsend saying “the
poor are poor because they lack not just cash income, but legal
services, public amenities, basic human respect, and so on”
(Meltzer 12). Besides lacking income, they also are deprived
of the feelings that more fortunate people take for granted
each day: self worth, feeling of accomplishment, relaxation,
and boredom—when a person can sit down and have nothing to do.
According to The Institute for Management Excellence, the basic
needs of human beings can be divided into nine categories:
– the need to feel safe, to feel assured that they know what
is going to
happen, to know ahead of time what the plans are.
– the need for an adrenaline rush, to have new experiences,
have BIG experiences, to have drama in their life, to have a
sense of anticipation
about upcoming events.
– the need for independence and spontaneity. It is also
the need to have
choices and to feel in control of making those choices.
– the need to trade information and knowledge with others, not
mingle or socialize, but to deliver and receive something of
– the need to be in a position of authority and responsibility.
– the need to build something, to add onto, to create an empire,
expand horizons, to go where no one has gone before.
– the need to accept yourself and be accepted by others.
This includes a
feeling of belonging.
– the need to have people around for support, comfort, warmth,
- the need to be artistic, to be seen, to be heard, to be felt.
It is the
need to express oneself through words, speech, actions, dress,
art and self-creations
of all types. (Nine Basic Human Needs)
Positive Aspects of Technology
technology is capable of fulfilling many of the fundamental
needs described above, it is out of the reach to those that
it could benefit the most—either from lack of education or available
access. For example, with the use of the Internet the
poor could fill all nine of the human basic needs to some extent.
They would be able to express themselves by either sending personal
poems to website or creating their own personal website to display
their artistic abilities. With the use of AOL Instant
Messenger or other chat programs they would be able to exchange
useful wisdom with people all around the world. From all
the available information on the Internet, they would be able
to expand their mind farther than they could have imagined.
When the mind is expanded and knowledge is gained, power follows.
The Internet also provides adventure as a person can explore
different parts of the world online. Acceptance is a large
part of the Internet. A person can find an online chat
room that inhabits people with similar interests, beliefs, and
dispositions. Philip Elmer-DeWitt, the senior editor for
TIME magazine, makes a point that “stripped of the external
trappings of wealth, power, beauty and social status, people
tend to be judged in the cyberspace of the Internet only by
their ideas and their ability to get them across in terse, vigorous
prose” (Dewitt 8). Technology has created an environment
in which people can cater to their emotional needs, but the
problem is that it is out of the reach of those that can benefit
the most from it. Technology helps some people get back
on their feet, while at the same time knocking others down.
Education and Jobs
that suffer the most from the advancement of technology are
those with an insufficient education. William Julius
Wilson, a past president of the American Sociological Association,
feels that the public school system in America was designed
to give low-income students “basic literacy and numeracy skills
required for routine work in mass production factories, service
industries, or farms,” and now the jobs that were available
for people with only a high school education are being taken
by “highly skilled designers, engineers, and operators” who
are needed to develop more productive systems (Wilson 151-152).
This is making a high school diploma worthless. Technology
is robbing the people that cannot afford a good education.
Jerome Segal, a philosopher at the University of Maryland’s
School of Public Affairs, makes people aware that “one hundred
years ago, free education provided you with a viable point of
entry into the economy. Today, it provides access to very
little” (Segal 37). The majority of jobs available for
people with only a high school education are those that require
routine work such as fast food restaurants, convenience stores,
etc. The only way that people can make a substantial amount
of money is by spending a substantial amount of money on a college
education. “Today, access to most interesting work requires
a college education, and often an advanced degree. Costs
reach 30,000 per year” (Segal 37). What about those that
initially lack sufficient funds? What about those that lack
a decent education? It is difficult to get accepted into
selective schools, which most of the time offers a better learning
experience, if a person does not have a decent education to
begin. In general, a person needs a high-quality education
in order to get a supportive job to pay for the increasing costs
of basic needs.
The Increasing of Cost of Living
of some fundamental needs are decreasing, but at the same time
the costs of others are increasing. When the price of
one item decreases, the price of another items must increase
in order to maintain an economical balance. Jerome Segal
states, “in 1900, food and clothing constituted 56% of the household
budget; today it is 20%. Meanwhile, costs for housing,
transportation, health care, education and child care have increased”
(Segal 37). According to Segal, the price of housing is
increasing in some poor neighborhoods because of a process called
gentrification, in which landlords are turning low-cost housing
facilities into high-cost dwelling units for the middle and
upper classes. This forces people living in inexpensive
housing onto the street, because they have no other options.
(Segal 37). Another necessity that has increased in cost
is transportation. Segal says, “one hundred years ago
transportation represented 3% of the household budget.
Today the figure is 19%. We have built a suburbanized
society with extremely limited public transportation.
A car is a necessity in most areas—families with two wage earners
generally need two of them” (Segal 37). People in poverty
have to cut back on some of their flexible basic needs in order
to take care of urgent responsibilities. For instance,
the price of transportation and housing is a fixed amount, when
a family is in need of money one of the first necessities to
be cut back is food.
Physical and Emotional Stress
When a person
is deprived of food, physical and emotional problems arise.
Food and water are the most urgent needs necessary for existing.
Milton Meltzer, in his book Poverty in America, quotes Dr. Robert
Coles of the Harvard University Health Services when he says
that when the body is deprived of necessary nourishment it “is
slowly, in a sense, consuming itself” (Meltzer 16). During
the times when a person’s body is starving for food, how can
an individual worry about anything else? The first responsibility
of the human is to take care of the body. If the body
is constantly burdened, it causes a tremendous amount of stress.
The stress created by hunger goes deeper than just physical;
it also affects the mind. Meltzer says, “Hunger exerts
a harmful stress on its victims. The poor feel the strain
of constantly scrambling for food. The shame a man or
woman experiences over the inability to provide for his or her
family adds a terrible burden that increases the physical damage
done by poverty” (Meltzer 21). Mental stress is a lot
more harmful than physical stress. The stress of
the mind can drive people to do things they ordinary would not
consider—like commit suicide. Meltzer talks about a jobless
farm equipment worker who seriously considered suicide, because
he could not tolerate the fact that he was unable to feed his
kids (Meltzer 21). This worker felt a sense of worthlessness.
He had a responsibility and he was not able to take care of
it. Just from the lack of food, he was feeling a lack of power
or control over his life. His freedom and acceptance of
himself was taken away. As one human basic need is deprived,
the remaining needs also begin to suffer. The physical
and emotional aspects of existence must be taken care of in
order to have a healthy life.
need that can provide for both the physical and emotional aspect
of the human body is spirituality. When a person has a
relationship with a supreme being (God) it gives them a sense
of hope and purpose. With this sense of purpose and meaning,
they are more motivated to attack the world because they know
they have support from the Creator of all things. Technology
can help emotional problems to some extent, but there is still
a void in the life of the homeless that can only be filled with
the love of God. He does not discriminate against
anyone. That is a positive thing, since homelessness affects
everyone. As stated by Meltzer, the homeless ”…
are white, black, Hispanic, Native American, and foreign-born.
They are people in trouble, victims of job layoffs, of greedy
landlords, of cold bureaucrats, or of their own addictions or
personality disorders. They are abused wives and cast-off
children, evicted families, lonely old people” (Meltzer 22).
God is different from man and technology, because He has the
ability to change a person from the inside and then clean them
up on the outside. God will only come into a person’s
life if they let Him. Christ says, “Behold, I stand at
the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the
door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20). This means
that God wants to come into the lives of every person, but He
will not help anyone if they do not accept Him. He wants
to make life better for everyone, but they have to believe in
Him. Christ says, “I came that they might have life,
and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Another way
that spirituality can help the homeless is that it will give
them hope for the future. By reading the Bible, they will
find out that while they are suffering now, in the end they
will be comforted. Christ makes it clear when He says,
“Blessed are you who are poor for yours is the kingdom of God.
/ Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
/ Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh” (Luke 6:20-21).
Christ is the answer to the problems of the homeless.
Technology can help solve some problems. But God has authority
over the whole world and everything in it. One of Jesus’ apostles,
Paul says, “For by him [God] all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether
thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were
created by him and for him. He is before all things, and
in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16). Spirituality
provides an incredible amount of help, guidance and comfort
to those that have nothing and even to those that have wealth.
is a problem that everyone faces. It is a problem that
has so many dimensions that it is difficult to solve.
Individuals become homeless because they are laid off from work,
cannot afford housing, addicted to drugs, handicapped, mentally
ill, rejected by families and the list goes on and on.
While the people are living on the streets, many of their basic
needs are not being satisfied. These needs include both emotional
and physical requirements. Technology has helped cure
the problem to some degree, but it has also created new troubles
by forcing people out of jobs and increasing the cost of living.
The price of food and clothing is decreasing, but the cost transportation,
housing, health care, and etc. are all dramatically increasing.
Without a decent job or education, people are not able to satisfy
all of their fundamental needs. The answer to the problem
homelessness is through the belief in God. He created
all things and has control over everything. He wants to
help the poor and the needy, but they have to call out to Him
with faith and belief. Jesus says, “If you believe, you
will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Matthew 21:22).
In order to beat homeless, God is needed. Unlike the Internet
or any other form of technology, He is accessible twenty-four
hours a day to any and everyone that calls His name. Joel,
one of the prophets in the Bible, says, “… everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.” This salvation
is not only from eternal death, but also from the daily problems