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Homelessness - Referat


Homelessness can be caused by local or regional unemployment, war, racial discrimination, mental or physical disability, or a combination of factors. In recent times, many people became homeless, because of catastrophes like hurricane Katrina or hurricane Rita. Still some weeks after hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, 4500 people are still searching for relatives, and many people are ended up on the street, owning nothing but their life.

35 million are homeless in Pakistan after the recent earthquake. In Guatemala there have been landslides after heavy rainfalls, which led to flooding and temporarily homelessness.

The number of homeless people worldwide is estimated to be more than 630 million. Precise numbers are impossible to collect, however, because researchers define homelessness in different ways and because the homeless are transitory.

Most homeless people are extremely poor, and are estranged from their families and other social networks. Many of the adult homeless are chronically mentally ill, alcoholics or drug abusers. Today’s homeless are relatively young, and they include a large number of women and children. The number of street kids is increasing every year, and so does the number of runaway kids. These kids often had trouble with their parents and therefore they tear out. Often they get in contact with drugs afterwards and are drawn into a vicious circle.

A good example for a runaway kid is the book “Go Ask Alice”. It is an anonymous diary of a teen growing up amongst drugs and violence. She suffers mentally and physically, saw herself as inferior and has much fortitude. Alice runs away from home, ending up in the streets and constantly falling deeper to her own demise. However, she doesn't win the fight and died of an overdose.

Homelessness is not only a problem of the Third World, but also of rich and developed countries. In the US, about 750 000 people are homeless every night, and two million experience being homeless for some time. It is estimated that in Europe six million were without shelter last winter. A lack
of affordable housing due to low income, rising unemployment and increased single-family housing lead to homelessness in Great Britain. The British government tries to find solutions.

There were 1800 long-term homeless people in England three years ago, but the figure went down to 700. They have learned from the success and want to carry on.

Half of all homeless people in England are found in London. They get food in numerous soup kitchens. The rough sleepers are helped with education, employment and treatment for drug, alcohol and mental health problems. The main problem of short-term rough sleepers is to find accommodation. The main aim of the Rough Sleepers Unit is to tackle all areas of homelessness. Their motto is “Just one person sleeping in a shop door way is one to many”.

Some help for the homeless comes from the private sector, principally from churches running soup kitchens, operating shelters and hostels, and distributing free clothing. Aid is also provided by charitable organizations.

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