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Welfare reform on the Web (October 2006): Homelessness - Overseas

Who is homeless in developing countries? Differentiating between inadequately housed and homeless people

G. Tipple and S. Speak

International Development Planning Review, vol.28, 2006, p.57-84

This article attempts to distinguish between people in developing countries living in inadequate housing in informal settlements and those who are actually homeless. The study indicates that the difference between living in informal settlements and street homelessness is not clear cut. However, although most may live in housing which may be classified as inadequate, analysis of their security of tenure, dwelling quality and location, social organisation, employment opportunities and access to services suggests that many people in informal settlements do not justify the classification of homelessness. People in informal settlements are likely to see themselves as being on an upward housing trajectory, with their shelters and access to services likely to improve over time. Planners should pay more attention to improving conditions in informal settlements instead of seeking to remove them.

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