Homelessness as social – anthropological problem

Homelessness as social – anthropological problem
Mgr. Hana Krylová
Department of antropology and hygiene
Pedagogical faculty
Palacky University Olomouc
Homelessness is perceived as a live situation of people without shelter, who officially have
permanent residence, but don´t live in it. Thus, they miss sufficient shelter to spend the night.
It means that they spend the night under bridges, in parks, in canalization, in wagons, in
cartons etc.
FEANTSA (European federation of national associations working with homeless
people) created an operational definition of homelessness and housing exclusion. The
problem of homelessness becomes a problem of people in following life situations:
Rooflessness - life in public places or in night asylums, houselessness – it means people
living in organizations, institutions or in provisory accomodations, insecure housing – for
example temporal living in friend´s house or flat, inadequate housing – living with too many
people or hygienically inadequate. Living in caravans or boats is also included here.
Homeless population is divided into three groups:
A) Obvious homelessness. Obvious homelesses are the most visible part of homeless
population. These are people that we meet in a street, in a railway station, where they
live ( so called „streetpeople“) or near asylum houses where they´re accomodated.
Such people openly profess that they are members of streetpeople community.
B) Hidden (latent) homelessness is represented by people who don´t contact public or
charity services to find accomodation. This form of homelessness is spread far more
than the obvious homelessness. Unacceptable living in squats, cellars, old cars,
garbage containers, sewers and tents is included here.
C) Potential homelessness covers a group of citizens whose income is minimal. Their
housing cost and satisfying of other needs is higher than their overall income. The risk
of becoming homeless increases by increasing the difference between income and
In my research I´ve focused on the obvious homelesses who seek out the services of the
asylum houses. The research takes place in charity asylum house in Olomouc.
The aim of the research is :
To present stories of the czech homelesses,
To show the complexity of homelessness in czech society,
To measure body hight, weight and the amount of fat as a part of alimental condition
of the homeless people,
To review health condition,
To offer compact view of this phenomenon,
To uncover new findings in the field of homelessness and social exclusion. No doubt
these themes need more research.
The conclusions should be used for improving provided services and for finding effective
options for prevention.
I´ve chosen qualitative approach to interpret social reality and to understand people in
social situations. I use the method of life story in combination with the method of life curve
and half-structured dialogue that supplements basic informations about informants.
Supplemental information will be obtained from social workers and asylum house employees.