The culture of homelessness : an ethnographic study
The thesis argues that homelessness is complex and synergical in nature. It discusses the life events and processes that often trigger, protect against and predict the likelihood of someone becoming homeless (and/or roofless). It argues, that people's routes into homelessness are complex, multiple and interlinked and are the result of biographical, structural and behavioural factors. This complexity increases with the age of the individual and the duration of their rooflessness. The thesis explores the homeless culture as a counter-culture created through people being pushed out of mainstream society. It argues, that what happened to people in the past, created the nature of the homeless culture. Furthermore it is argued that any serious attempt at resettling long-term rough sleepers needs to consider what it is that the homeless culture offers and whether or how this can be replicated within housed society. The thesis goes on to demonstrate that there are immense, complex, multi-dimensional difficulties to be faced by those exiting rooflessness. These difficulties arise from complex structural, behavioural and emotional factors that are inextricably entwined within people's lives and, at times, negate positive influences or exacerbate existing problems. It is argued that the current system inadvertently actively discourages and/or prevents people from leaving homelessness and fully re-integrating back into housed society. Radical changes are needed in the way we perceive and tackle rooflessness. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the types of policies and interventions that could prevent rooflessness from occurring or would actively promote meaningful reintegration back into housed society.