Homelessness  

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"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me"
--"The New Colossus"


Diogenes of Sinope lived in a barrel as a statement of simple living.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Homelessness describes the condition of people without a regular dwelling. People who are homeless are most often unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure, and adequate housing, or lack "fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence." The legal definition of "homeless" varies from country to country, or among different entities or institutions in the same country or region. The term homeless may also include people whose primary night-time residence is in a homeless shelter, a warming center, a domestic violence shelter, cardboard boxes or other ad hoc housing situations. American Government homeless enumeration studies also include persons who sleep in a public or private place not designed for use as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

An estimated 100 million people worldwide were homeless in 2005. Modern homelessness started as a result of economic stresses in society and reductions in the availability of affordable housing. In the United States, in the 1970s, the deinstitutionalisation of patients from state psychiatric hospitals was a precipitating factor in urban areas. By the mid-1980s, there was also a dramatic increase in family homelessness. Tied into this was an increasing number of impoverished and runaway children, teenagers, and young adults, which created more street children or street youth.

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.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Homelessness" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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