homelesness

Topics: Homelessness, Poverty, Homelessness in the United States Pages: 44 (12751 words) Published: September 18, 2014

Homelessness

Homelessness is the condition of people without a regular dwelling. People who are homeless are most often unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure, and adequate housing, or lack "fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence."[1] The legal definition of "homeless" varies from country to country, or among different entities or institutions in the same country or region.[dubious – discuss][2] The term homeless may also include people whose primary night-time residence is in a homeless shelter, a warming center, a domestic violence shelter, a vehicle (including recreational vehicles and campers), cardboard boxes, a tent, tarpaulins, or other ad hoc housing situations. American Government homeless enumeration studies[3][4] also include persons who sleep in a public or private place not designed for use as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.[5][6] There are a number of organisations who provide provisions for the homeless for example, The Salvation Army.

An estimated 100 million people worldwide were homeless in 2005.[7] In western countries, the large majority of homeless are men (75–80%), with single males particularly overrepresented.[8][9][10] In the USA, LGBT people are over-represented among homeless youth, at 39%.[11] Modern homelessness started as a result of economic stresses in society and reductions in the availability of affordable housing. In the United States, in the 1970s, the deinstitutionalisation of patients from state psychiatric hospitals was a precipitating factor in urban areas. By the mid-1980s, there was also a dramatic increase in family homelessness. Tied into this was an increasing number of impoverished and runaway children, teenagers, and young adults, which created more street children or street youth.

Most countries provide a variety of services to assist homeless people. They often provide food, shelter and clothing and may be organized and run by community organizations (often with the help of volunteers) or by government departments. These programs may be supported by government, charities, churches and individual donors. Many non-profit organizations such as Goodwill Industries maintain a mission to "provide skill development and work opportunities to people with barriers to employment". Many cities also have street newspapers, which are publications designed to provide employment opportunity to homeless people. While some homeless have jobs, some must seek other methods to make a living. Begging or panhandling is one option, but is becoming increasingly illegal in many cities.

Difficulties in classification

The term unsheltered refers to that segment of a homeless community who do not have ordinary lawful access to buildings in which to sleep. Such persons frequently prefer the term houseless to the term homeless. Others may use the term street people, which does not fully encompass all unsheltered in that many such persons do not spend their time on urban street environments. Many shun such locales and prefer to convert unoccupied buildings, or to inhabit mountains or, more often, lowland meadows, and creek banks and beaches[12] Many jurisdictions have developed programs to provide short term emergency shelter, often in churches or other institutional real property, during particularly cold spells. These are referred to as warming centers, and are credited by their advocates as lifesaving.[13]

A portion of the homeless population are generally in transit, but there is no generally accepted terminology to describe them; some nomenclature is frequently associated with derogatory connotations, and thus the professional and vernacular lingo to describe these persons is both evolving and not lacking in controversy.[14] Much of the concern stems from the European situation, where homeless persons of Roma, Sinti and other ethnic descent have rejected the term gypsy. Other terms which some use regarding in-transit persons are:...
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