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Homelessness is defined as living in housing that is below the minimum standard or lacks secure tenure. People can be categorized as homeless if they are: living on the streets, moving between temporary shelters, including houses of friends, family and emergency accommodation, living in private boarding houses without a private bathroom and/or security of tenure. The legal definition of homeless varies from country to country, or among different jurisdictions in the same country or region. According to the UK homelessness charity Crisis, a home is not just a physical space: it also provides roots, identity, security, a sense of belonging and a place of emotional wellbeing. United States government homeless enumeration studies also include people who sleep in a public or private place not designed for use as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. People who are homeless are most often unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure and adequate housing due to a lack of, or an unsteady income. Homelessness and poverty are interrelated. There is no methodological consent on counting the homeless and identifying their special needs, therefore in most of the cities only estimated homeless population is known. In 2005, an estimated 100 million 1 in 65 at the (an estimated 100 million to 1 in 65 at the) time people worldwide were homeless and as many as 1 billion people live as squatters, refugees or in temporary shelter, all lacking adequate housing. Historically in the Western countries, the majority of homeless have been men 50-80%, with single males particularly overrepresented. In 2015, the United States reported that there were 564.708 homeless people within its borders, one of the higher reported figures worldwide. These figures are likely underestimates as surveillance for the homeless population is challenging. When compared to the general population, people who are homeless experience higher rates of adverse physical and mental health outcomes, which renders them vulnerable to health conditions associated with changes in climate. Chronic disease severity, respiratory conditions, rates of mental health illnesses and substance use are all often greater in homeless populations than the general population. Homelessness is also associated with a high risk of suicide attempts. People experiencing homelessness have limited access to resources and are often disengaged from health services, making them that much more susceptible to extreme weather events e.g., extreme cold or heat and ozone levels. These disparities often result in increased morbidity and mortality in the homeless population. There are a number of organizations who to provide help for the homeless. Most countries provide a variety of services to assist homeless people. These services often provide food, shelter beds and clothing and may be organized and run by community organizations often with the help of volunteers or by government departments or agencies. These programs may be supported by the government, charities, churches and individual donors. Many cities also have street newspapers, which are publications designed to provide employment opportunity to homeless people. While some homeless have jobs, some must seek other methods to make a living. Begging or panhandling is one option, but is becoming increasingly illegal in many cities. People who are homeless may have additional conditions, such as physical or mental health issues or substance addiction, these issues make resolving (make resolving these issues) homelessness a challenging policy issue. Homeless people, and homeless organizations, are sometimes accused or convicted of fraudulent behavior. Criminals are also known to exploit homeless people, ranging from identity theft to tax and welfare scams. These incidents often lead to negative connotations on the homeless as a group.


66 Months

66 Months is a 2011 United Kingdom documentary film directed by James Bluemel focusing on a homeless Nigel Fletcher surviving 6 years without government assistance. It was produced by Moving Target Films in association with Dartmouth Films and was first shown in 2011.


Alberta Rural Development Network

The Alberta Rural Development Network is a not-for-profit partnership of nine public colleges & universities. Its mission is "to create a model of rural community development through collaboration in research and learning".


Argyle Street, Norwich

Argyle Street was a Victorian terraced street in Norwich, Norfolk. It became a squat lasting from 1979 to 1985. The street was then demolished in 1986. Some of the newbuild houses were subsequently demolished in 2015.


Bedspace apartment

A bedspace apartment, also called cage home, coffin cubicle, or coffin home, is a type of residence that is only large enough for one bunk bed surrounded by a metal cage. In 2007, there were approximately 53.200 people living in cage homes. This type of residence originated in Hong Kong, and primarily exists in older urban districts such as Sham Shui Po, Mong Kok, To Kwa Wan, and Tai Kok Tsui. Generally, the residents are low-income people, including the elderly, drug addicts, and some low-skilled or unskilled labourers. Reports from the Legislative Council of Hong Kong found that the people who lived in cage homes were those who did not qualify for social welfare, or subsidised rent or electricity. Most of the residents are male. Safety and other living conditions in bedspace apartments homes are often poor. While often called cage homes, they are categorised as "bedspace apartments" by the Hong Kong Government. According to the Bedspace Apartment Ordinance, the term "bedspace apartment" refers to a house that contains 12 or more people who rent bedspaces individually. It is legal to run these bedspace apartments, but landlords must first apply for a special license.



Bergie is a term used for a subsection of homeless people in Cape Town, South Africa. The word originates from the Afrikaans berg meaning "mountain" – the term originally referred to the homeless people who sheltered in the forests of the slopes of Table Mountain. The synonymous term stroller typically refers to street children living a bergie lifestyle. They are vagrants and scavengers, sometimes begging, performing odd jobs or working as informal car guards for tips. Most of them are Cape Coloureds who speak Afrikaans mixed with a few English terms, and are known for their sense of humour, vulgar language and alcohol consumption. Their lifestyle is portrayed in the 1987 novel The Strollers by Lesley Beake, the 1998 documentary film Pavement Aristocrats: The Bergies of Cape Town by François Verster, and the play Suip!, a black comedy co-written and directed by Heinrich Reisenhofer.

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