Definition of Homelessness
Homelessness can simply be defined as the lack of house or shelter. Hulchanski (n.d.) believes that homelessness is “a great unresolved political and social problem of our time.” He defines homelessness as:
The absence of a place to live (a house or apartment or room - the physical structure) - which includes the absence of belonging to a place and the people living there (a home, in the social/psychological sense). [It refers to] situations in which people lack regular and customary access to adequate and appropriate conventional housing (the physical structures that are designed and intended to be permanent residential accommodation). A person who has no regular place to live stays in an overnight emergency shelter, an abandoned building, an all-night coffee shop or theatre, a car, outdoors, or other such places not meant to be living spaces” (Hulchanski, n.d.).
On the other hand, Springer (2000) views homelessness as term encompassing many possible meanings. Springer suggests using the "houselessness" instead of homelessness. She also identifies Categories of Houselessness/Homelessness. According to Springer (2000), there are three categories of houselessness:
Absolute houselessness refers to people who use public or private housing. “People
sleeping rough, which means in the street, in public places or in any other place not meant for
human habitation are those forming the core population of the "homeless"[as well as] those
sleeping in shelters provided by welfare or other institutions” (Springer, 2000).
Concealed houselessness refers to people who are houseless but temporarily housed with
friends or family. “…all people living wit...
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March 30, 2007, from http://www.parkdalelegal.org/Homeless.htm
Pollack, G. (2001). "Who are Canada’s homeless?'. Reader's Digest (2001). Available at
Raising the Roof. “Case Study: Homeless Initiatives Fund.” Retrieved March 30, 2007, from
Raising the Roof. “Case Study: Literacy and Homelessness Project.” Retrieved March 30, 2007,
Springer, S. (2000). "Homelessness: A proposal for a Global Definition and Classification."
Habitat International, Vol. 24,Urban Homelessness in 11
Toronto Report Card on Housing and Homelessness. (2003). Retrieved March 30, 2007, from
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