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Social Issues

The New Homeless

Most people in the mainstream regard homeless people as either mentally ill, drug or alcohol dependent, or some other such degree of marginalisation. However, there seems to be more and more “average” people joining the ranks of the homeless.

I watched the early news this morning, and saw a story of a woman who, I think, is indicative of the new situations people are facing. This lady had been a police woman, then a flight attendant. She had owned her own home, ands had what many saw as a comfortable life.

However, due to changes in her personal circumstances, she now lives on the streets. This was something I have seen more and more in recent years. In many circumstances, it is because of the sudden rise in interest rates and cost of living (incredibly high in Australia compared to other western countries).

One of the most disturbing trends is the amount of physically disabled people being forced onto the streets. In the wake of the terrible Childers backpackers tragedy of 2000 (15 people were killed), the Queensland government, followed by other state governments, quite rightly introduced new legislation to protect people in such hostels. This included a requirement that disabled access must be provided for disabled residents.

However, many unscrupulous landlords have circumvented this, simply kicking out their disabled tenants, rather than building disabled access. Even many of the new government funded community housing schemes are only including a token number of disability accessible rooms in new projects.

As the competition for the limited number of places becomes more intense, many disabled are finding they have nowhere to go. Just as the rising cost of living is forcing many people into the streets, or substandard housing.

About Craig Hill

General Manager at Craig Hill Training Services * Get an Australian diploma by studying in your own country * Get an Australian diploma using your overseas study and work experience * Diplomas can be used for work or study in Australia and other countries. * For more information go to www.craighill.net


6 thoughts on “The New Homeless

  1. How does a guy who has such a great skill end up on the streets? We saw an increase in the US about the same time. There a very few shelters for women.

    Posted by Waldo "Wally" Tomosky | February 23, 2012, 00:11
    • Not really sure, but I guess with outsourcing to India and China, and the fact that HTML literacy is higher than it used to be, it’s not such a rare skill any more.

      Homelessness amongst women was a major concern when I was working with Big Issue and other organisations.

      Posted by Craig Hill | February 23, 2012, 00:21
  2. I can see how it works that people that become disabled end up on the streets. About 3 years ago, I rolled a semi truck and damaged discs in my neck and back. I have not been able to work since. As a single male with no wife, no children, i cannot obtain any financial help anywhere.

    Workers compensation drops you off the pay list. To apply for social security Disability takes up to two years or more. Than you’d still have to be approved for the disability. During that time, you can go through your life savings paying your bills, mortgage and everything else you need to sustain your life, will be gone. What next? Streets or finding a relative if you have some to live with. With the economy it would be hard on anyone to help support you.

    Next thing you know you’re homeless. I have fought this for a while now, and I still own my home, but if things do not work out in the next year, I may lose it all. It’s a sad fate.

    Posted by savageindian | February 23, 2012, 13:46
    • I actually went through a worker’s compensation claim against Big Issue, when I was a journalist there. Not only did they deny liability, but secured Australia’s largest law firm (free of charge) to intimidate and harass me for over a year, before my worker’s compensation claim was accepted.

      Even though caught repeatedly lying in court, the judge took no action, as he felt they BELIEVED they were justified to do so. Apparently, it is acceptable in Australia to lie under oath, if you are a well known charity. The courts seem to give employers almost unlimited leeway in such cases, and the social security system in Australia also seems unable to address the needs of the disabled .

      I, too, almost ended up homeless because of it. That was certainly the intent of Big Issue, an organisation that boasts about the great work they do helping the homeless. That seems quite ironic.

      Posted by Craig Hill | February 23, 2012, 14:25
      • Wow, it’s amazing that there are systems out there to help people in need, but they seem to enjoy denying people nmore than helping them.

        So when I see people homeless I sometimes wonder if their circumstance has to be for the reason of denied disability benifits. It’s crazy.

        For me workers comp has accepted my permanent loss evaluation which gives them a percentage of loss. But I am now in line for a court hearing to get accepted for Social Security disability. they say it will take 12-18 months. It has already been 18 months since I first applied for it.

        I hope everything went well on your work comp case. Good luck.

        Posted by savageindian | February 23, 2012, 14:31
    • Queensland, in Australia, actually goes even further to “punishing” those injured in the workplace. They put the court transcripts on the internet, so everyone, including future potential employers, can see you have claimed worker’s compensation in the past. Even if the employer is found liable, the employee is still “outed” by the Government, and put on show to the world. It is on line permanently, and is never deleted.

      Posted by Craig Hill | February 23, 2012, 14:43

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