Saturday, February 11, 2012


Beyond the Homeless Myth
People who don't have shelter are houseless - not homeless! Homelessness has nothing to do with a lack of shelter.
Define Homeless: 'An inadequate experience of connectedness with family and or community,' (Dominic Mapstone). This fact is now recognized by Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme.
If the problem was a lack of shelters for the homeless why aren't all the homeless shelter always full? During winter they are more busy but more shelters won't solve the problem.
So often on the street I've seen people shake a set of keys with a big smile on their face saying 'I've got a place.' But often they end up spending most of their time on the streets anyway because they just don't know anyone else other than other homeless people and an empty room is very lonely.
Homelessness is about a lack of connectedness. Belonging somewhere is about belonging with other people. Like belonging to a family or local community.
The largest social demographic in first world countries that experiences homelessness are actually elderly people who are houseful. Quite often their spouse has died and their children live at a distance. They feel the same loneliness and abandonment as the person living on the street.
People in institutions including prisons or juvenile justice centres often feel the same loneliness or more accurately experience homelessness as the only people they have contact with other than the other 'homeless' inmates are people paid to be a part of their life. These people are the equivalent of people who work in soup kitchens or shelters on the streets.

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