Free Custom «Vulnerable Population: Downers Grove, IL» Essay Sample
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Vulnerability refers to a degree, to which a group or a population is susceptible to disasters, abuse and ill-treatment (WHO, 2016). The vulnerable population comprises people who often cannot cope with the normal routine of life because they are disadvantaged in one way or the other. Just like other communities, Downers Grove, Illinois, has its own vulnerable groups. As of 2015, its population was estimated to be 49,732 (United States Census Bureau, 2016). With such a great number, it is worth discussing various vulnerable populations of Downers Grove, their concerns, as well as services that are available to support them in their situation.
The Downers Grove community has a significant number of vulnerable populations who can be divided into various groups. The first is alcohol and substance abusers, who are prevalent in the region. It is evident through many drug rehabilitation centers within the community (Drug/Alcohol Abuse Rehab Centers, 2016). In addition, many cases of illicit drug addicts have been reported for the last one year. According to the research by Drug/Alcohol Abuse Rehab Centers (2016), cases of addiction to such drugs as marijuana, opiate, cocaine, disulfiram, pain pills, and alcohol have been common in the community.
Another vulnerable group in Downers Grove is the poor. According to the Poverty Index Report, a considerable number of people live below the poverty line with the city-data statistics showing 6.7% of community’s residents. Furthermore, the survey shows that 2.3% of them have a 50% income below the poverty level, while 2.7% of the poor are disabled people (“Downers Grove, Illinois,” 2013).
The third vulnerable population in Downers Grove is homeless people. The existence of the latter is evident by various services set up in the region to help the vulnerable group (Suntopia, 2012). According to statistical data, 1 out of 10 people in Downers Grove is homeless (“Downers Grove, Illinois,” 2013). Street children comprise the majority of this group, while others also include drug addicts and pregnant teenagers. Another vulnerable population in the community is pregnant adolescents. According to research studies, the rate of such pregnancies is on the rise in Downers Grove. It has been attributed to poverty and substance abuse (“Downers Grove, Illinois,” 2013). Similarly, Downers Grove has disabled people as a vulnerable group, and 2.7% of poor residents in the community belong to it (“Downers Grove, Illinois,” 2013).
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Another vulnerable population in Downers Grove is composed of victims of violence. According to the statistical analysis by Areavibes (2016), residents of the community have 1 in every 74 chances of becoming a victim of crime. The research further shows that 560 calls related to domestic violence are reported daily in the region (Foster, 2011). Other cases are related to rape, violent crime, battery, assault and robbery. Finally, other vulnerable populations in the region include immigrant workers, as well as black race, HIV and AIDS victims.
Several concerns affect various vulnerable groups in the Downers Grove community. First, the poor feel neglected in accessing such financial resources as loans and other funds necessary for them to overcome their financial difficulties. Another concern is the price of foodstuff that is too high for them. Clean water is also not easily accessible to the poor. Substance abuse and alcohol addicts also have various concerns. Some of the latter include discrimination from police officers since many claim that they are harassed and imprisoned without a fair trial. Similarly, many addicts are concerned about few rehabilitation centers in the region, some of which are said to be in the poor state. Others also claim that they are subjected to ill-treatment and harassment by rehabilitation workers.
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Homeless people also have their particular concerns, for example, insecurity issues in the region, which put their lives at risk. Another area of concern is harassment from police officers. Homeless people also complain of being neglected by the government. They are also concerned about few available facilities that take care of homeless individuals. Pregnant adolescents also have several concerns, including discrimination they receive from healthcare workers. Secondly, they are harassed and sometimes ill-treated by their parents besides few available health facilities to monitor their pregnancies (WHO, 2016).
Similarly, mentally ill people are also concerned about the lack of adequate centers in the region. They also complain of discrimination from healthcare workers and the lack of adequate care and support from the government. Similarly, the AIDS population in Downers Grove is concerned about few centers that provide support for AIDS patients. In addition, there are some level of job discrimination, as well as the ones in schools and public institution (WHO, 2016).
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The Homeless Group
I have identified homeless people in Downers Grove as a vulnerable population for further investigation. The study by Suntopia (2012) showed that homelessness is a growing problem in the community, and the population is vulnerable to many issues, namely, diseases like AIDs and pneumonia related to the cold climate. In addition, they face the problem of crime, rape and assaults. Moreover, such people are affected by discrimination from healthcare workers, police officers and even the general public. Many of them suffer in silence and their concerns are not heard.
However, there are various services available in Downers Grove. For example, educational programs have been developed starting from elementary schools to colleges to educate the homeless on the importance of housing and how to access such services. In addition, rehabilitation centers help the group to recover from anxiety and depression associated with homelessness through a comprehensive recovery program. Furthermore, community awareness projects have been developed to create awareness on ways to help homeless people alleviate their lives. Moreover, counseling centers are available for the group. Moreover, policies that minimize challenges of this kind of population are developed at the local, state and national levels.
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Some of the services that are available in Downers Grove for homeless people include Low Income Housing Help, which is used to find low-cost housing that can be afforded by poor people (Suntopia, 2012). In addition, the service provides rental assistance and support to families in need together with the financial help from well-wishers. Another service found in the region is offered by Bridge Communities Inc., providing transitioning housing services to the homeless that live in Downers Grove (Suntopia, 2012).
Another service is provided by Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans. This organization located in Downers Grove delivers shelter services in addition to substance abuse rehabilitation, psychotherapy and job training (Suntopia, 2012). It provides a comprehensive 9-month program that helps veterans to find shelter and trains them on other life skills necessary to live a decent life. 360 Youth Services is also a transitioning housing program in Downers Grove for young adults aged between 18 and 21, both men and women (Suntopia, 2012). It also offers referral help, where youths from other areas can be referred to the organization.
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Another organization is Wayside Cross Ministries, Inc., which has a residential program for abused individuals and homeless people (Suntopia, 2012). The organization also provides services to street gangs, homeless children and drug addicts. In addition, it offers training on life skills for young adults and housing to homeless women and their children. Another homeless program is provided by Hesed House-PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter), Inc. The organization has shelter for any homeless and soup kitchen for those who are suffering from hunger. It offers referrals to other service providers, and individuals and families can show up any time for shelter (Suntopia, 2012).
Like any other community, Downers Grove has various vulnerable populations. Substance abusers, homeless people, pregnant adolescents, people with disability, mentally disordered persons, victims of violence and those with AIDs are just but a few. As seen, the vulnerable populations have many concerns that are particular to their group. However, just like homeless people, all these people receive services that help them cope and overcome their challenges.
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