on Tuesday, 30 July 2013. Posted in Brazil, Myanmar, Burundi, The Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, The Facts, India, Indonesia, FAQ, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Romania, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Uganda, Homelessness, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Cambodia, Zambia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines

Homeless Be A HERO

Poverty leads to orphans and homelessness.

  • 150 million children live on the street.
  • Action International says that by 2020 there will be 800 million homeless children.
  • The UN says that the street children situation is one of the worst crises facing the nations of the world.
  • This is a disaster

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” – Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 25, par. 1

Housing is a basic human need, yet the statistics of United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2005 notes that, an estimated 100 million people -one-quarter of the world's population- live without shelter or in unhealthy and unacceptable conditions. Over 100 million people around the world have no shelter whatsoever. The health consequences of this level of homelessness are profound. The Action Aid in 2003 had found out that there were 78 million homeless people in India alone. CRY (Child Relief and You) in 2006 estimated that there are 11 million homeless children live on the street. The statistics are grim. What is worse is that very little is known of what it means to be part of such horrific numbers.

Factors Contributing to Homelessness

A wide array of factors contribute to homelessness, but they can be thought of as falling into one of two categories: structural problems and individual factors that increase vulnerability.

Structural problems:

  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Changes in the industrial economy leading to unemployment
  • Inadequate income supports the de-institutionalization of patients with mental health problems and the erosion of family and social support.

Factors that increase an individual's vulnerability:

  • Physical or mental illness
  • Disability
  • Substance abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Job loss

Reducing homelessness will mean addressing issues such as these.

Since homelessness is a phrase in which a broad range of people and circumstances are concerned. Factors that contribute to homelessness are also broad. They include

  • Poverty:- Homelessness and poverty are attached together. Poor people are not in a position to pay for housing, food, child care, health care, and education.
  • Drug Addiction:- Data indicates that alcohol and drug abuse are excessively high among the homeless inhabitants. People who are poor and addicted are obviously at augmented risk of homelessness.
  • War:- It causes unexpected homelessness. People who are in a good position suddenly loose their home due to battle among countries.
  • Overcrowding and harassment by landlords.
  • Unhealthy relationships between young people and their parents or guardians.
  • Unemployment
  • Divorce:- Anyone in a family whether mother, father or child can become homeless due to separation. Single parents with dependent children are mostly at risk of homelessness.
  • Natural disaster:- Cyclone, Tsunami and other calamities totally destroy the region. The homes are destroyed and families gets dislocated.

Impact of Homelessness on Children

According to a report published by the United Nations, there are 150 million children aged three to 18 years on our streets today—and their numbers are growing fast. 40% of the world's street children are homeless, the other 60% work on the street to support their families. The UNICEF, World Health Orgamisation (WHO) and several NGO's have got disputing figures in their account of street children. According to CRY(Child Relief and You) about 60 million Indian children under the age of 6 live below the poverty line. The problem has become particularly acute for homeless children, one-fifth of whom receive no education.

According to Indian Embassy figures, there are 314,700 children living on the streets of Bombay [Mumbai], Calcutta [Kolkata], Madras [Chennai], Kanpur, Bangalore and Hyderabad, and another 100,000 live in New Delhi; however, these numbers may not reflect the true picture, as accurate census information is difficult to collect. In truth, millions of India's children are denied even the most basic rights of survival and protection. Children living on the streets are especially vulnerable to victimization, exploitation, and the abuse of their civil and economic rights.

Reasons for Homelessness of Children

Children are abandoned, orphaned, or thrown out of their homes. They have no choice and finally end up on streets. It may be because of the mistreatment, neglect or that their homes do not or cannot provide them with even the basic necessities. Many children also work in the streets because their earnings are needed by their families. The reasons for these children's homelessness may be interlinked with social, economic, political, environmental causes or a combination of any of these. UNICEF defines street children as “children who work on the streets of urban areas, without reference to the time there or to the reasons for being there”.

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