What does it mean to be Homeless? Currently, there are several definitions. The federal government has a definition of homelessness. However, many people still think of it as a stigma, a group that should be shunned and ignored. Here are five of the most common misconceptions about the homeless:
Lack of affordable housing is one of the most common causes of homelessness. Unemployed people cannot afford rent or mortgage payments. Recession or a physical or mental illness may keep someone from finding work. Losing a job is often temporary and can make an individual homeless until they find new employment. Other reasons include lack of income due to an illness or disability or the cost of living in their neighborhood. Ultimately, homelessness is a symptom of an underlying problem.
After the breakup of the USSR, homelessness increased dramatically in Russia. There was a legal vacuum and a high number of frauds, which further increased the incidence of homelessness. In the late 1990s, Russia introduced a law banning the sale of the last flat of a registered family with children. Various works and policies have been introduced to reduce the number of homeless. One such change was the right to shelter. Even though homelessness is still a problem today, it is no longer as severe as it was a generation ago.
As of 2018, the United States courts have not found homelessness to be a violation of human rights, certain city ordinances have come under scrutiny. While a lack of shelter space is an important consideration, criminalizing those experiencing homelessness in public places is an affront to basic human rights. A recent case in the Supreme Court addressed the issue, Bell v. City of Boise, et al., cited the Eighth Amendment to prohibit cruel punishment.
Those experiencing homelessness are typically poor and mentally ill, and are often living in parks. While the numbers of the homeless is higher than the number of people experiencing it on a given night, there is a huge population of people who are homeless on a daily basis. Some are even physically disabled and sleeping in public spaces, such as bathrooms and parking lots. In addition to being homeless, a person experiencing homelessness may also be mentally ill or physically unable to afford rent or mortgage payments.
Although there are many definitions of homelessness, the most widely accepted definition involves three distinct categories. First, there is primary homelessness, which refers to individuals without conventional housing. Second, there is secondary homelessness, in which people move between various shelters and couch surf in order to meet their housing needs. Third, people experiencing chronic homelessness fall into the category of chronic homelessness. If a person experiences a third episode of homelessness in one year, he or she may be considered chronically homeless.
The majority of studies have focused on the urban homeless population. Ohio and Vermont recently published reports including both urban and suburban areas. Additionally, in many instances, studies of the homeless have reflected a population with more diverse demographics. For example, the percentage of middle-aged men experiencing homelessness has decreased, and young families are the fastest-growing segment of the population. The geographic dispersion of homelessness has changed, and many previously unseen neighborhoods are now being visited by homeless people.