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Houselessness

Background

Stories pertaining to the condition of people who lack a permanent dwelling, such as a house or apartment. People who are houseless are most often unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure and adequate housing. According to the UK homelessness charity Crisis, a home is not just a physical space: it also provides roots, identity, security, a sense of belonging and a place of emotional wellbeing. We at the Hawaii Independent use the term ‘houseless’ rather than ‘homeless’ because the term homeless encourages the notion that those who are forced to survive without an abode are less important than citizens with roofs over their heads. In many regards, they are even treated as less than human. Our houseless brothers and sisters think, have feelings, have intellect and struggle, just as we all do.

In 2005, an estimated 100 million (1 in 65) people worldwide were houseless, and as many as 1 billion people were living as squatters, refugees or in temporary shelter, all lacking adequate housing. In Western countries, the large majority of houseless people are men (75–80 percent), with single males particularly overrepresented. Honolulu is the houseless capital of the United States, per capita (487 homeless per 100,000 people). For a fifth consecutive year, homelessness grew in Hawai‘i in 2016. Some 7,921 homeless were counted statewide on a single night in January, up 4 percent from 2015.

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