There are few known facts about homelessness, but there are truths about homelessness that can serve us well.
For an understanding of the difference between fact and truth, try a few of the links here, “Difference between fact and truth.” To my mind, a fact is bit of information that is accurate and unchangeable, such as 2+2=4. But homelessness cannot be defined in this manner. 2+2 can equal homelessness and can be considered a fact of homelessness, yet 2+5 can also equal homelessness and be just as factually accurate.
Axioms. That’s the way to find accurate definitions causes and cures of homelessness.
1. a self-evident truth that requires no proof.
2. a universally accepted principle or rule.
3. Logic, Mathematics. a proposition that is assumed without proof for the sake of studying the consequences that follow from it.
In Math, axioms help us to understand how numbers operate and relate to the world. We know that with the Commutative Axiom 2+3 equals 3+2, that is, when adding numbers, the order of the numbers makes no difference in outcome. But, with subtraction the Commutative Axiom does not work. 7-4 does not equal 4-7. With homelessness, axioms could help us understand how homelessness operates and relates to the world, regardless of what the “facts” are.
Many homeless people are addicts. This may lead people to believe that addictions = homelessness. But there are many addicts who are not homeless and never will be homeless. So we can’t state as a fact that addictions equal homelessness, or cause homelessness. Yet the truth of the matter is many homeless people are addicts. What then would be the proper axiom in this case?
There has never been a dedicated effort to properly define homelessness in the scientific community. In the institutions of higher learning we have schools dedicated to “African American Studies” “Women’s Studies,” we know how to send protons flying at near the speed of light, we have mapped out the human genome, but we know almost nothing for certain about homelessness. The scientific community has come up with cures for a wide range of problems, and works tirelessly to find cures for all other human problems. So, why not include homelessness in these efforts? I think it’s time we did.