homelessness


homelessness

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A number of people in Britain and the US are homeless. Many are forced to sleep on the streets (BrE also sleep rough or be a rough sleeper) because they have nowhere else to go. Formerly, people who had no permanent home were called tramps or vagrants. Most were older people. Now, many younger people are homeless. In the US the typical image of a homeless person is of a single man or an older woman. The women are sometimes called bag ladies, because they carry their things around in large bags. But many families with small children are also homeless.
  Homeless people sleep in shop doorways, under bridges, or anywhere they can find away from the wind and rain. In Britain, the alternative to sleeping rough may be to live in a squat. Squatters can only be evicted by the owner after a formal court order has been obtained.
  Not all homeless people sleep rough or squat. In Britain, a government campaign aims to prevent sleeping rough and begging. Local councils are legally required to find somewhere for homeless people to live, and many families are housed in bed-and-breakfast accommodation. Charities such as Shelter, Centre Point and the Salvation Army run hostels for the homeless. Each winter around Christmas, they also organize campaigns which raise money to provide extra night shelters and soup kitchens (= places giving free hot food).
  In the US many towns have laws making it illegal to sleep on the streets, so the police may tell people to move during the night. The US also has shelters but it is not easy to get a bed in one. Many do not have enough space, or have only enough money to stay open for part of the year. They are often away from the centre of town, and people need to have money for the bus fare to get there.
  For many people, homelessness begins when they lose their jobs and cannot pay their rent. Some become homeless as a result of family quarrels, broken relationships, violence, and mental illness. Some homeless people survive by begging. In Britain homeless people have an opportunity to help themselves selling The Big Issue magazine: they buy copies of the magazine and sell them at a higher, fixed price to members of the public. There are similar publications in the US, but they are less popular.
  Many people give to charities, or to the homeless on the streets, but some think homeless people are wasters (= spend money carelessly), or are too lazy to work, and are responsible for their own situation. Americans generally believe that people should work hard to help themselves, instead of taking money from the government. For that reason, many Americans will give money to charities, but are opposed to a system of government benefits. But homeless people who have no address have difficulty getting the limited kinds of help available from the government.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Homelessness — is the condition and social category of people who lack housing, because they cannot afford, or are otherwise unable to maintain, regular, safe, and adequate shelter. The term homelessness may also include people whose primary nighttime residence …   Wikipedia

  • homelessness — n. the state or condition of having no home, especially of living in the streets. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • homelessness — having no home, now the subject of legislation in England and Wales and Scotland, and having a technical signification not always congruent with the ordinary meaning of the word. The thrust of the legislation is to focus upon accommodation, and… …   Law dictionary

  • homelessness — 1814, from HOMELESS (Cf. homeless) + NESS (Cf. ness) …   Etymology dictionary

  • homelessness —    Three factors made homelessness a more visible feature of British society and culture in the 1990s. First, as a result of economic recession, family breakdown and poverty, increasing numbers of young people were found living on the streets of… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • homelessness — home ► NOUN 1) the place where one lives. 2) an institution for people needing professional care. 3) a place where something flourishes or from which it originated. 4) the finishing point in a race. 5) (in games) the place where a player is free… …   English terms dictionary

  • Homelessness — Homeless Home less, a. [AS. h[=a]mleas.] Destitute of a home. {Home less*ness}, n. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • homelessness — noun see homeless …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • homelessness — noun The state of being homeless …   Wiktionary

  • homelessness — n. state of not having a residence, condition of lacking a home …   English contemporary dictionary


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