Survey Says… Friars Overwhelmingly Cite Mental Illness, Addiction as Reasons for Homeless Crisis

HNP Communications HNPNow

The homeless crisis is raging in urban areas across the country – with cities like New York and San Francisco reaching levels of crisis proportion. In the July 20 edition of HNP NOW, friars were polled on what they think are the greatest contributing factors to homelessness.

Mental illness, and substance and alcohol addiction, tied at a whopping 78% each as the leading causes of homelessness in America, according to the survey results. In addition, lack of affordable housing came in at 42%, while lack of family values came in at 35%. Rounding out the poll was lack of political leadership at 21%. Friars were asked to select up to three of the factors listed. None selected “laziness” as one of the reasons for the homeless crisis.

Emmet Murphy, OFM.

Some of the friars offered their views in the comments section, including Emmet Murphy, OFM, who stated, “We, as a Nation, must and should contact our local political leaders and dialogue with them about this daunting issue we face as a society. As Friars Minor, be aware of the poverty of people within our own areas. It is here, and it’s not always hidden. Just poke around and you will be amazed that it’s right in our own backyard!”

Richard McFeely, OFM.

Richard McFeely, OFM, said, “For many people, the homeless are just a nuisance and simply ignored, rather than seen as fellow human beings deserving of our concern and care. Now, even some right-wing talk-radio hosts are suggesting that maybe we should just shoot them. Their lack of compassion is just astounding.”



John Gill, OFM.

It’s a lack of affordable housing, according to John Gill, OFM, who said, “The primary reason people experience homelessness is because they lack access to housing that they can afford. The overwhelming problem is the limited housing options for the extremely low-income people.”



Thomas Hartle, OFM.

Says Thomas Hartle, OFM, “In many cases, a lack of education leaves persons without the possibility of gainful employment.”




Kevin Kriso, OFM.

Kevin Kriso, OFM, offered, “There are enough resources to go around, but we don’t have the political will to address homelessness and wealth inequality.”