Articles on Homelessness

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A homeless camp in Los Angeles, where homelessness has risen 23 percent in the past year, in May 2017. AP Photo/Richard Vogel

Why poverty is not a personal choice, but a reflection of society

Americans, an independent group, tend to believe that people can "pull themselves up by their boot straps." Yet bigger forces are at play in a person's ability to gain education, a good job and money.
Margaret Morton’s photographs of the homeless highlighted their makeshift dwellings as symbols of creativity and resourcefulness. © Margaret Morton

How the homeless create homes

Even though they don't consistently have a roof over their heads, the homeless do their best to create a routine, form communities and make a home – just like the rest of society.
Brutal police raids on São Paulo’s so-called ‘Crackland’ have shocked the city and paved the way for redevelopment of this prime piece of real estate. Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

At what cost gentrification? São Paulo expels drug users and razes buildings to ‘revitalise Crackland’

Luz, a once-elegant 19th-century neighbourhood in downtown São Paulo, is prime real estate. But redevelopment means clearing out a homeless encampment known as "Crackland".
The person using this shelter in New South Wales certainly meets the official definition of homeless, but how they see themselves is important. Bidgee/Wikimedia Commons

What’s in the name ‘homeless’? How people see themselves and the labels we apply matter

People who self-identify as 'homeless' have poorer wellbeing than others in the same circumstances, yet that's the label they must adopt to qualify for help.
The budget brought no increase in rent assistance to help low-income renters in the private rental market. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Is this the budget that forgot renters?

For the majority of Australia’s renters, housing will remain unaffordable, insecure, and out of reach following the 2017-18 federal budget.
Are the millennials doomed to be nomads, locked out of the home-ownership market forever? sharon_k/flickr

Off the plan: shelter, the future and the problems in between

Owning a home has deep cultural and economic connotations. A home owner is a member of a street, a community. They are a successful adult human. They own a piece of the pie, the dream.
A director of a supportive housing center in Bronx, New York, talks with a resident and case worker in December 2015. Bebeto Matthews/AP

How funding to house mentally ill, homeless is a financial gain, not drain

About one in three homeless people has a significant mental illness. Providing housing for them has proved to be a boost not only to them and their communities, but also to budgets. Here's why.
People have camped in the long grass since colonisation. From this perspective, bans on the practice are a denial of Indigenous agency, culture and rights to country. Photo: K. Pollard

Contested spaces: the ‘long-grassers’, living private lives in public places

In contrast to perceptions of other homeless people sleeping rough, Darwin's "long-grassers" are applying a long cultural tradition to deal with the situation in which they find themselves.
A family of Programa Atitude beneficiaries in short-term housing provided by the programme. Lianne Milton/Panos for the Open Society Foundations

Why cities should stop arresting crack users and help them instead

Evidence increasingly shows the effectiveness of controversial efforts, like northeastern Brazil's Attitude Programme, to feed and house at-risk drug users.
A collaborative painting by Chris Honig and homeless street artists Soloe and Jubs in Hosier Lane. Photograph by Constantin Tanasa

Some rough sleepers are attracting tourists with their street art

Some say homelessness creates squalor in our cities. But Hosier Lane — the most Instagrammed spot in Melbourne — thrives partly due to homeless street artists.
Under pressure from media coverage like this, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle wants to ban people from sleeping on Melbourne’s streets. Herald Sun

Ban on sleeping rough does nothing to fix the problems of homelessness

Bans are ineffective when used against populations that have nowhere else to go. Importantly, research shows that punitive approaches to the homeless cost more than supported housing strategies.
Some homeless youth facing criminal charges in NSW are being accommodated in prisons. Adrian Fallace/flikr

NSW bail laws mean well but are landing homeless kids in prison

Homeless children charged in NSW with a criminal offence who are unable to meet bail conditions are being kept in custody. It's due, in part, to a well-meant but flawed section of the Bail Act.

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