Homelessness, Health Care, and Welfare Provision

Homelessness, Health Care, and Welfare Provision

Homelessness, Health Care, and Welfare Provision

Homelessness, Health Care, and Welfare Provision


Homelessness, Health Care and Welfare Provisionis the first known publication in which service providers examine the particular difficulties encountered by homeless people in gaining access to healthcare, both in Britain and the US. Specific chapters examine the complex issue of mental health and homelessness, responses to single homeless people with drink-related problems and the particular problems experienced by young single homeless people and homeless women.


Kevin Fisher and John Collins

Being homeless is rotten. in a world of statistics and social analysis this is sometimes overlooked…. For a start you aren’t needed by anyone…. You have nowhere to go and nothing to do except get through the day and night. You wander amidst bustling crowds of clean, well fed and busy people…. You have little money, no friends and almost no content to your life save to keep warm in libraries or queue up for your benefit at the social security. Worst of all you are alone and that brings with it an increasing sense of isolation.

(Cox and Cox 1977)

In recent years the problem of homelessness has escalated into a critical social issue, stimulating a wave of concern from the voluntary sector, pressure groups and, occasionally, policy makers. This concern has been provoked by the seeming upsurge in the numbers of homeless people sleeping on the streets of our cities. As shopfronts, underpasses and doorways were transformed into hotels for the needy the shock of homelessness became public. and homelessness, as Marcuse has observed, is shocking.

It is immediately shocking to the homeless, but ultimately to the system that produces homelessness. Homelessness is shocking to those who are not homeless because it exposes misery in the midst of plenty, and represents alienation from home in a home-based society.

(Marcuse 1988:68)

Public awareness of the problem of homelessness was not heightened only by the escalation of the problem, nor by the attendant media coverage. Rather there was a gradual realization that people who were homeless were not all ‘lazy crazy drunks’ but people like us: women

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