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Special report: changing face of homelessness

 INSP 26 July 2019

Street papers have witnessed the consequences of the economic downturn since 2008 and help to give a voice to those caught up in the ravages of the recession. Here, we highlight stories which reveal the human cost behind the endless statistics. (282 Words) - By Danielle Batist

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A demonstrator bangs on a saucepan with a spoon while shouting slogans during a protest against government austerity measures in front of the ruling government party Popular Party headquarters in Madrid. Photo: REUTERS/Juan Medina

Street papers on all continents have seen the changing face of homelessness in recent years. A recent survey, released this month by the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) reveals the scale of the problem. A total of 89 INSP street papers worldwide participated in this survey (published July 2012), mainly in Europe (50 street papers) and North America (24 street papers). The survey focused on the 4-year period since the start of the crisis. Of the street papers participating in the survey:

  • 72% have seen a change in their vendor base

  • 16% says more people with families have become street paper vendors

  • Almost 20% says more young people have become vendors

  • 20% says their vendor numbers are growing

  • 78% have seen a change in the demographics of homeless/ unemployed population in their city/ country

  • 37% say more young people have become homeless/ unemployed

  • 21% say more elderly people have become homeless/ unemployed

  • A quarter say that more families have become homeless/ unemployed

  • A third say that more local people have become homeless/ unemployed

The economic crisis at large is quoted as the main cause of the changing demographic of homeless people. 40% say that a lack of employment specifically is the largest contributor to these changes, followed by a lack of affordable housing.

 

*[Additional editing of case studies by Rebekah Funk]

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