The legal definition of ‘homeless’ according to the Supported Accommodation Assistance Act 1994 is those who have inadequate access to safe and secure housing. The Australian Bureau of Statistics recognises that there are three levels of homelessness. The first, ‘primary homelessness’ refers to people who do not have any form of conventional accommodation and so are living on the streets, in parks, or in improvised dwellings. The next level, ‘secondary homelessness’ includes people who have only temporary accommodation. This is also known as stop-gap accommodation. Lastly, there is ‘tertiary homelessness’, which includes those who live in accommodation that is considered to be below the community’s usual standard and is considered to be harmful to health. This form of homelessness is commonly known as insecure tenure or marginally housed. The Homeless Australia fact sheet, ‘Homelessness in Australia’, states that there are a number of complex issues as to why people become homeless, which I will examine as part of this case study. What are the identifying characteristics of the group?
There are a number of identifiable characteristics that are related to homelessness and to someone becoming homeless. By identifying these characteristics and factors society is able to address the underlying causes of homelessness. There are many factors that can lead to someone becoming homeless. These include, but are not limited to, lack of social support, lack of suitable and affordable housing, lack of employment (short or long term), financial pressures, family breakdowns, poor physical and/or mental health, substance abuse or domestic violence. It is important to recognise that there is no ‘typical’ homeless person or typical reason for someone becoming homeless. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a five level pyramid developed by philosopher Abraham Maslow that suggests five independent levels of basic human needs. It states that social interaction is highly important for everyone. As a result of being homeless, homeless people are often marginalised and live on the periphery of society. This marginalisation limits their social interactions, resulting in unfulfilled needs. Most homeless people are unemployed or underemployed and have a limited role in society. Prior to becoming homeless, they may have been living at the margins of society and lacked the social support to assist them in times of need and to manage their ongoing problems, which could have been the cause of their homelessness. By definition, the homeless live without secure and safe housing. According to the Homeless Australia fact sheet ‘Homelessness in Australia’ 15% of homeless people are homeless due to Australia’s housing crisis and 5% due to housing affordability. Homeless people’s accommodation becomes the streets, abandoned buildings, cars, parks, boarding houses, overcrowded dwellings and other temporary solutions that sit below the standard for accommodation. Furthermore, 39% of the Australia’s homeless population (41,390 people) live in a residence that needs four or more extra bedrooms to accommodate the residents adequately, this is known as an overcrowded dwelling. These are the largest group of people experiencing homelessness in Australia. The ‘Homeless Australia’ webpage states that 16% of the homeless group are homeless due to financial difficulties. These people are unable to cope with the stress and pressure of their financial situation and so are forced to live below standard and without financial support. Statistics on the ‘Homelessness Australia’ webpage show that 6% of the homeless population are homeless due to relationship or family breakdowns. This is one of the major causes of homelessness in Australia. As a result of such disruptive events in their lives mental illness then becomes very common and the longer they experience horrific circumstances such as homelessness the more likely they are to develop severe and...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document