What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless. Whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy ?

History

Homelessness is the condition and social category of people without a regular house or dwelling because they cannot afford, do not desire, or are otherwise unable to maintain regular, safe, and adequate housing, or lack "fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence." street people are the segment of the homeless who spend substantial periods of time on the streets in urban areas. The actual legal definition varies from country to country, or among different entities or institutions in the same country or region.
The term homelessness may also include people whose primary night time residence is in a homeless shelter, in an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized, or in a public or private place not designed for use as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines a "chronically homeless" person as "an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either been continuously homeless for a year or more, or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years."

Early history through the 1800s

Following the Peasants' Revolt, British constables were authorised under a 1383 statute to collar vagabonds and force them to show support; if they could not, the penalty was gaol. Vagabonds could be sentenced to the stocks for three days and nights; in 1530,whipping was added. The presumption was that vagabonds were unlicensed beggars. In 1547, a bill was passed that subjected vagrants to some of the more extreme provisions of the criminal law, namely two years servitude and branding with a "V" as the penalty for the first offense and death for the second. Large numbers of vagabonds were among the convicts transported to the American colonies in the 18th century.
During the 16th century in England, the state first tried to give housing to vagrants instead of punishing them, by introducing bridewells to take vagrants and train them for a profession. In the 17th and 18th centuries, these were replaced by workhouses but these were intended to discourage too much reliance on state help.The growing movement toward social concern sparked the development of rescue missions, such as America's first rescue mission, the New York City Rescue Mission, founded in 1872 by Jerry and Maria McAuley.In smaller towns, there were hobos, who temporarily lived near train tracks and hopped onto trains to various destinations. Especially following the American Civil War, a large number of homeless men formed part of a counterculture known as "hobohemia" all over America. This phenomenon re-surged in the 1930s during and after the Great Depression.

Early 20th century
How the Other Half Lives later inspired Jack London's The People of the Abyss (1903). This raised public awareness, causing some changes in building codes and some social conditions.These were later replaced by dormitory housing ("spikes") provided by local boroughs, and these were researched by the writer George Orwell. By the 1930s in England, there were 30,000 people living in these facilities. In 1933, George Orwell wrote about poverty in London and Paris, in his bookDown and Out in Paris and London.

In general, in most countries, many towns and cities had an area which contained the poor, transients, and afflicted, such as a "skid row". In New York City, for example, there was an area known as "the Bowery", traditionally, where alcoholics were to be found sleeping on the streets, bottle in hand.

The Great Depression of the 1930s caused a devastating epidemic of poverty, hunger, and homelessness. There were two million homeless people migrating across the United States.
In the 1960s, the nature and growing problem of homelessness changed in England as public concern grew. The number of people living "rough" in the streets had increased dramatically. However, beginning with the Conservative administration's Rough Sleeper Initiative, the number of people sleeping rough in London fell dramatically. This initiative was supported further by the incoming Labour administration from 2009 onwards with the publication of the 'Coming in from the Cold' strategy published by the Rough Sleepers Unit, which proposed and delivered a massive increase in the number of hostel bed spaces in the capital and an increase in funding for street outreach teams, who work with rough sleepers to enable them to access services.

Later 20th century

However, modern homelessness, started as a result of the economic stresses in society, reduction in the availability of affordable housing, such as single room occupancies (SROs), for poorer people. In the United States, in the 1970s, the deinstitutionalisation of patients from state psychiatric hospitals was a precipitating factor which seeded the homeless population, especially in urban areas such as New York City.

The Community Mental Health Act of 1963 was a pre-disposing factor in setting the stage for homelessness in the United States. Long term psychiatric patients were released from state hospitals into SROs and supposed to be sent to community mental health centers for treatment and follow-up. It never quite worked out properly, the community mental health centers mostly did not materialize, and this population largely was found living in the streets soon thereafter with no sustainable support system.

Also, as real estate prices and neighborhood pressure increased to move these people out of their areas, the SROs diminished in number, putting most of their residents in the streets. Other populations were mixed in later, such as people losing their homes for economic reasons, and those with addictions (although alcoholic hobos had been visible as homeless people since the 1890s, and those stereotypes fueled public perceptions of homeless people in general), the elderly, and others.

Many places where people were once allowed freely to loiter, or purposefully be present, such as churches, public libraries and atriums, became stricter as the homeless population grew larger and increasingly congregated in these places. As a result, many churches closed their doors when services were not being held, libraries began enforcing "no eyes shut" and sometimes dresscode policies, and most places hired private security guards to carry out these policies, creating a social tension. Many public toilets were closed.[citation needed]
                                                  

This banished the homeless population to sidewalks, parks, under bridges, and the like. They also lived in the subway and railroad tunnels in New York City. They seemingly became socially invisible, which was the apparent effect of many of the enforcement policies. The homeless shelters, which were generally night shelters, made the homeless leave in the morning to whatever they could manage and return in the evening when the beds in the shelters opened up again for sleeping. There were some daytime shelters where the homeless could go, instead of being stranded on the streets, and they could be helped, get counseling, avail themselves of resources, meals, and otherwise spend their day until returning to their overnight sleeping arrangements. An example of such a day center shelter model is Saint Francis House in Boston, Massachusetts, founded in the early 1980s, which opens for the homeless all year long during the daytime hours and was originally based on the settlement house model.

Many homeless keep all their possessions with them because they have no access to storage. There was also the reality of the "bag" people, the shopping cart people, and the soda can collectors (known as binners or dumpster divers) who sort through garbage to find items to sell, trade and eat. These people carry around all of their possessions with them all the time because they have no place to store them. If they had no access to or capability to get to a shelter and possible bathing, or access to toilets and laundry facilities, their hygiene was lacking. This again created social tensions in public places.These conditions created an upsurge in tuberculosis and other diseases in urban areas.
In 1974, Kip Tiernan founded Rosie's Place in Boston, the first drop-in and emergency shelter for women in the United States, in response to the increasing numbers of needy women throughout the country.In 1979, a New York City lawyer, Robert Hayes, brought a class action suit before the courts, Callahan v. Carey, against the City and State, arguing for a person's state constitutional "right to shelter". It was settled as a consent decree in August 1981. The City and State agreed to provide board and shelter to all homeless men who met the need standard for welfare or who were homeless by certain other standards. By 1983 this right was extended to homeless women. 

By the mid-1980s, there was also a dramatic increase in family homelessness. Tied into this was an increasing number of impoverished and runaway children, teenagers, and young adults, which created a new sub-stratum of the homeless population (street children or street youth). Also, in the 1980s, in the United States, some federal legislation was introduced for the homeless as a result of the work of CongressmanStewart B. McKinney. In 1987, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act was enacted. Several organizations in some cities, such as New York and Boston, tried to be inventive about help to the swelling number of homeless people. In New York City, for example, in 1989, a street newspaper was created called "Street News" which put some homeless to work, some writing, producing, and mostly selling the paper on streets and trains.

It was written pro bono by a combination of homeless, celebrities, and established writers. In 1991, in England, a street newspaper, following on the New York model was established, called The Big Issue and was published weekly. Its circulation grew to 300,000. Chicago has StreetWise which has the largest circulation of its kind in the United States, thirty thousand. Boston has a Spare Change News newspaper, founded in 1992 by a small group of homeless people in Boston, built on the same model as the others: homeless helping themselves. Seattle has Real Change, a $1 newsletter that directly benefits the homeless and also reports on economic issues in the area. Portland, Oregon has Street Roots, with articles and poetry by homeless writers, sold on the street for a dollar. More recently, Street Sense, in Washington, D.C. has gained a lot of popularity and helped many make the move out of homelessness. Students in Baltimore, MD have opened a satellite office for that street paper as well.

21st Century

In 2002, research showed that children and families were the largest growing segment of the homeless in America, and this has presented new challenges, especially in services, to agencies.Some trends involving the plight of the homeless have provoked some thought, reflection and debate. One such phenomenon is paid physical advertising, colloquially known as "sandwich board men"and another specific type as "Bumvertising". Another trend is the side effect of unpaid free advertising of companies and organizations on shirts, clothing and bags, to be worn by the homeless and poor, given out and donated by companies to homeless shelters and charitable organizations for otherwise altruistic purposes. These trends are reminiscent of the "sandwich board signs" carried by poor people in the time of Charles Dickens in the Victorian 19th century in England and later during the Great Depression in the United States in the 1930s.
In the USA, the government asked many major cities to come up with a ten year plan to end homelessness. One of the results of this was a "Housing first" solution, rather than to have a homeless person remain in an emergency homeless shelter it was thought to be better to quickly get the person permanent housing of some sort and the necessary support services to sustain a new home. But there are many complications of this kind of program and these must be dealt with to make such an initiative work successfully in the middle to long term. Some formerly homeless people, who were finally able to obtain housing and other assets which helped to return to a normal lifestyle, have donated money and volunteer service to the organizations which provided aid to them during their homelessness. Alternatively, some social service entities that help the homeless now employ formerly homeless individuals to assist in the care process.

Homelessness has migrated toward rural and suburban areas. There are 1.6 million homeless people in shelters in 2009. The number of homeless people has not changed dramatically but the number of homeless families has increased according to a report of HUD.
The United States Congress appropriated $25 million in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants for 2008 to show the effectiveness of Rapid Re-housing programs in reducing family homelessness.
In February 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 part of which addressed homelessness prevention, allocating $1.5 billion for a Homeless Prevention Fund. The funding for it was called the "Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program" (HPRP), and was distributed using the formula for the Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) program. On May 20, 2009, President Obama signed the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act into Public Law (Public Law 111-22 or "PL 111-22"), reauthorizing HUD's Homeless Assistance programs. It was part of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009. The HEARTH act allows for the prevention of homelessness, rapid re-housing, consolidation of housing programs, and new homeless categories. In the eighteen months after the bill's signing, HUD must make regulations implementing this new McKinney program. In late 2009, some homeless advocacy organizations, such as the National Coalition for the Homeless, reported and published perceived problems with the HEARTH Act of 2009 as a HUD McKinney-Vento Reauthorization bill, especially with regard to privacy, definitional ineligibility, community roles, and restrictions on eligibile activities.

2 comments:

  1. How far gone must your mind be so as to require confinement in a mental institution. As I say that it seems a little backwards to me, but I see 5, 10, 20 or so,
    daily on the streets of San Francisco. I also know a number of ex-felons who have ended up on the street. Some of them decent fellows who could use a helping hand with a job. But the folks that like to get naked on the bus or on the street and those that are continually talking to them selves need paychiatric attention, maybe mood stabilizers. Where's the support for all of that?

    ReplyDelete