Literature Review on Homelessnes

Topics: Homelessness, Poverty, Section 8 Pages: 4 (1150 words) Published: April 30, 2013
Homelessness is a global tragedy that is an ongoing problem which arouses anxiety in government and civil society. There are many difficulties in defining what ‘homelessness’ really means. There has been a long debate about the definition of homelessness in Western countries (Neil & Fopp, 1992). Questions arise such as; how should we define people who don’t own their own accommodation but are staying temporarily with other households? Should they be labelled as homeless? This leads to the debate on; what are the causes of homelessness? Is it due to the lack of affordable housing, or to a range of complex factors involving poverty and unemployment? Finally do homeless people deserve more help or not? These debates help governments to initiate new policies which can help in various perceptive in an attempt to find a resolution. Homelessness, which is a concern in Australia can be categorised as the literal, the subjectivist and the cultural. The literal definition corresponds to homelessness with being 'rooflessness' which is mostly portrayed by the media. The subjectivist definition attempts to establish 'homelessness' by asking people about the adequacy of their accommodation. The cultural definition argues that homelessness is an objective category which is not dependent on people's perceptions. The debate about homelessness, according to some Australian scholars has responded that it is impossible to define homelessness. Sackville stated that there was ‘no universally accepted definition of the homeless population’ (Commission of Inquiry into Poverty 1976: 5). In 1998, Burke (1998: 295) revived the point again that ‘Homelessness continues to escape precise definition, because of its complexity and increasing diversification.’ Contrastingly the subjectivist definition quoted by Sophie Watson (1984, 1986) states that homelessness is a socially constructed concept and that what constitutes adequate housing can vary from one period to another. She also...
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