Sample Sociology Paper on Mother and Child Programs: Covenant House

Around 2 per cent of the global population, which is almost 150 million people
are homeless. In the United States, there have always been homeless people. Due to
the fluctuation of both demographic and economic forces, the composition and size of
the homeless population have also undergone fluctuation even though comparatively
permanent skid rows where the homeless forgather have long been a feature of
numerous cities. In the past decade, the number of homeless people has escalated
dramatically. Apart from that, the composition of homeless people has also
succumbed to change. About 18 percent of young men and 44 percent of young
women aged between 18 to 25 years facing homelessness report being pregnant or a
parent (Oritz-Ospina, 2017). Every year, hundreds of thousands of children live with a
young mother and infrequently with a homeless young dad. It is not uncommon for
young individuals who are homeless to be active sexually, including those that are
either trafficked for sex or those that practice sex for survival and are at higher risk for
pregnancy. Knowing that they are homeless, thus lacking a stable and safe place to
raise and take care of their children compounds their already traumatic test of
everyday survival. Covenant house's mother and child programs offer emergency
shelter for young children and mothers. Also, it offers counselling as well as other
social services. This paper evaluates homelessness among mothers and children as
well as the challenges and barriers faced by the Covenant house and any potential
intervention programs.
Description of Targeted Groups; Impact of the health issue for this group

Mothers and children form the largest, most undeserved and complicated group
experiencing homelessness not only in the United States but also around the world.
Risk factors to homelessness among this particular group are atypically an
amalgamation of structural and individual factors. Structural factors include lack of
appropriate and affordable housing options as well as public policy that is responsible
for creating barriers for those on the margins. On the other hand, mental health issues,
family violence, lack of social supports, under or unemployment and substance use
are some of the individual factors that lead these people into homelessness. Divorce or
separations and family violence are risk factors that, in most cases, affect women. As
much as family or individual's experience is dissimilar, the vulnerability level and the
complexity of support needs is often the result of the combination as well as
cumulative impacts of these particular factors. Homelessness has adverse impacts on
this target group with some of the impacts being worrying about their safety and
going for days without meals with mothers often letting their health fall by the
wayside just to help their children. Other impacts are depression and escalated risk for
anxiety, among others.
Challenges and barriers in tackling this issue
On any given night in the country mentioned above, 500,000 people are homeless
with some of them sleeping on the streets while some sleep in shelters. About 15
percent of the homeless people are chronically homeless meaning that they have not
had any permanent residence in years. On almost every level, the government of the
United States has attempted to tackle the homelessness problem. However,
comprehensive solutions have proven to be elusive, in spite of billions of dollars that
have been spent over time. A series of goals have been set up by the federal
government aimed at ending homelessness for veterans by 2015 and chronic

homelessness by the year 2017 and by the year 2020, ending homelessness for
families with youth and children( Oritz-Ospina, 2017). Nevertheless, attaining these
benchmarks seems to be much further off.
One of the main challenges that affect the above-mentioned institution is the
unavailability of enough housing due to the ever-increasing number of homeless
mothers and children. According to researchers, housing issues will likely challenge
the covenant house program, thanks to the economy and recent trends associated with
homelessness. Apart from that, the costs of both behavioural health and health-care
have escalated because of overcrowding in these particular institutions. Thus, to
overcome this challenge, the number of institutions across the country will have to be
Finance forms another challenge that affects the covenant house. The institution
is dependent on support from individuals and sponsors, and this money is never
enough to pay for the employees who help the homeless in the institution. Apart from
that, because of financial issues, the length of support that can be offered by the
program is reduced because the program offers the victims food, shelter as well as
education. Moreover, the lack of enough funds means that the institution can only
take it what it can manage to handle. By doing this, mothers and children who are
homeless are left out of the program and end up suffering in the streets.
Literature review
Homelessness was able to attract a great deal of attention from the public, from
advocates, from the media and politicians in the 1980s (Glynn & Fox 2019). The
visibly growing problem was responded to by every government level, and virtually,
every sector of the society intervened. However, since then, interest in this particular


issue appears to have waned considerably. The problem continues to grow,
particularly in urban areas with temporary homelessness having escalated from a
decade ago and is threatening families and individuals further up the income
distribution. The number of mothers and children who are homeless have also seen a
considerable increase (Bigelsen & Vuotto, 2017). Mothers and children who are
homeless get predisposed to acute health problems, thanks to the unsanitary living
conditions in various towns, lack of proper medical care and the extreme weather
Being homeless also makes children have malnutrition since they hardly get
enough to put into their stomachs. Nevertheless, programs such as the mother and
child program have been put up to help helpless mothers and children. According to
Glynn & Fox (2019). The problem, however, is that the number of homeless mothers
and children are so high such that it is not possible to accommodate all of them in
these particular resources due to lack of enough resources. As much as programs such
as mother and child are faced by various challenges, they have helped young mothers
and children in a great way. At covenant house, the mothers are taught on
childbearing aspects, parenting skills as well as on how they can courageously
embrace single motherhood. Policies that ensure that young mothers gain livable
wages should be put in place so that they can be independent.
Potential Intervention
Since covenant house offers the program only for a limited amount of time to the
homeless mothers and children, there should be potential interventions aimed at
helping this particular group once they are out of the covenant house. One potential
intervention is building career pathways for them. The program can do this by

connecting them to career pathways that are not only responsive but also accessible.
They also need to coordinate employment strategies with housing and other
interventions so that these mothers can relapse and live a better life after completion
of their terms in the program. Furthermore, they can also improve system-wide
integration and coordination of employment programs with survivor assistance,
homeless assistance programs as well as permanent supportive housing and housing
Another intervention would involve strengthening crisis response systems. An
effective crisis response entails reorienting and coordinating services and programs to
a housing-first approach and rapidly puts an emphasis on connecting mothers and
children to permanent housing. They do this while at the same time mitigating the
traumatic effects that are brought about by homelessness (Glynn & Fox (2019). Apart
from that, additional support such supplemental services should be offered by the
program to the targeted group. Such a service would aid the said group in building up
their self-worth, improving their social skills as well as enhancing their achievements.
Other organizations should work together with covenant house in ensuring that young
mothers are able to earn themselves jobs and even conduct a follow up on how they
are fairing on even after leaving the program.
Advocating for change
One way in which advocacy can prove to be extremely effective at making
change is by encouraging policymakers to take action. On innumerable occasions,
legislators have initially stated that they could not support a program nor take a
specific step until advocates stepped in and worked to change their minds. Over the
eons, advocates have made a massive impact on federal policy to avert as well as

bring an end to homelessness. Advocacy helps in gaining novel and increased
resources for ending as well as preventing homelessness. What acts as a threat to the
progress that has been made towards ending homelessness is the rising rents and
housing shortage in communities across the country. Advocates must therefore call on
the Congress to uphold a commitment to bringing an end to homelessness.
Targeting housing resources and subsidies using the obtainable data about
families, prioritizing the processing of housing applications for homeless mothers and
children and standardizing the procedures for varied subsidy programs will ensure
that the above-mentioned target groups and families get assistance as quickly and
efficiently as probable. Apart from that, various states and the federal administration
should invest in aftercare services that aid families gain access to the much needed
social support. Policies that would also help in exploring the development of an
affordable housing model that entails on-site services for mothers and children and
other homeless individuals in need but do not qualify for supportive housing should
be put in place as it will help these people to remain stably housed after leaving
programs such as mother and child program.
On policy recommendations, one of them would be enhancing civic engagement
and leadership in fighting homelessness across this particular nation. This will
encompass utilizing the administration employing poverty reductions stratagems in
coming up with an extensive framework for improving the living conditions of
persons in the country. Additionally, this should also be able to upsurge the access to
affordable and stable housing (Glynn & Fox 2019). Implementation of the policy
mentioned above will foresee the reduction of people who live in the streets,
particularly those one earning but cannot afford to house because of its high costs.
The government should also allocate enough capital to covenant house. By doing so,

the house will be able to accommodate a larger number of homeless people as
compared to the amount that it is currently taking in. Moreover, with the allocated
finances, covenant house will be able to acquire more housing as well as upgrade the
existing resources such as food deficiencies, training programs as well as medications.
In conclusion, homelessness is a global challenge, with about 2 percent of the
total global population being homeless. Every year, hundreds of thousands of children
live with a young mother and infrequently with a homeless young dad. Covenant
house's mother and child programs offer emergency shelter for young children and
mothers. The targeted group for the program is the mother and children who are
facing homelessness. This particular group faces homelessness because of various
reasons with some of them being domestic violence, divorce or separation, among
others. One of the main challenges that affect the institution mentioned above is the
unavailability of enough housing due to the ever-increasing number of homeless
mothers and children. Another challenge is the lack of enough finances to help them
run their day-to-day activities at the covenant house. One of the interventions would
include strengthening crisis response systems. Moreover, in terms of advocating for
change, it would be appropriate to advocate to civic engagement and leadership.



Bigelsen, J., & Vuotto, S. (2017). Homelessness, survival sex and human trafficking:
As experienced by the youth of Covenant House New York. 2013. Available
at)(Accessed October 29, 2017) https://nche. ed. gov/downloads/cov-hs-
trafficking. pdf.
Glynn, C., & Fox, E. B. (2019). Dynamics of homelessness in urban America. The
Annals of Applied Statistics, 13(1), 573-605.
Ortiz-Ospina, E., & Roser, M. (2017). Homelessness. Our World in Data.