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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2004): Homelessness - Overseas

DEGREES OF DESTITUTION: A TYPOLOGY OF HOMELESSNESS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

S. Speak

Housing Studies, vol.19, 2004, p.465-482

Drawing on a study of homelessness in nine developing countries, paper identifies three types or categories of homeless person, based on the degree of choice they might exercise and the potential for improving the situation:

  • the first category, supplementation homelessness, develops when people, often lone men, leave their village in search of employment in the city. Such men may make a deliberate choice to sleep rough in order to send money home to supplement their rural livelihood;
  • the second category encompasses homeless people who may originally have migrated in search of employment, but have been unable to send enough money home to improve their village situation. Their connections with their home villages are attenuated, and eventually they form new social networks in squatter camps or on the streets;
  • the third category, crisis homelessness, occurs when people are rendered homeless by a personal catastrophe, such as family breakdown, bereavement, disaster or eviction.
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