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Concept.png Homelessness 
(dispossession,  enemy image)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Those without a home. Often scapegoated by those keen to promote capitalism.

Homelessness is not having a home. Homeless people, like the financially poor, are often scapegoated by those keen to promote capitalism.

Worldwide estimates

In 2005 the United Nations estimated that as much as 100 million people worldwide are homeless and more than 1 billion are inadequately housed.[1][2]


Various places in the US have declared it illegal to feed homeless people. McDonalds has tried playing music 24/7 in an effort to deter homeless people from sleeping near their outlets.[3]

  • In 2014, Fort Lauderdale passed a law against camping, panhandling, food sharing and engaging in other "life sustaining activities".[4]
  • In 2017 Atlanta police handed out "flyers across the city telling people that a permit is needed to give food to the homeless."[5]
  • As of October 2018, over 500,000 US citizens were homeless (of whom around 25% had a paid job).[6]
  • As of 2019, homelessness was growing in the USA[7] and the LA Times reported that 16,000 people in Los Angeles were living in cars, vans and RVs.[8] Virginia passed ordinance which made it illegal to sleep in ones car, on the grounds that the practice: “can have a negative effect on neighborhood aesthetics.”[9]


Many US cities have taken steps to criminalize homelessness, and/or criminalize those who give food to the homeless.[10] Other US cities charge for the right to give food to homeless people.[11][12]

UN Concerns

Full article: United Nations

A UN report into human rights singled out the U.S. saying that the criminalization of homelessness in the U.S. “raises concerns of discrimination and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”[13]


Related Quotation

George Carlin“I got an idea about homelessness. You know what they ought to do? Change the name of it. Change the name! It’s not homelessness, it’s houselessness! It’s houses these people need! A home is an abstract idea, a home is a setting, it’s a state of mind. These people need houses; physical, tangible structures. They need low-cost housing but where’re you gonna put it? Well that’s fine but where’re you gonna put it? Where’re you gonna put it? Nobody wants you to build low-cost housing near their house. People don’t want it near ‘em! We’ve got something in this country – you’ve heard of it – it’s called NIMBY, N-I-M-B-Y, “Not In My BackYard!” People don’t want anything, any kind of social help, located anywhere near ‘em! You try to open up a Halfway House, try to open up a drug rehab or an alcohol rehab center, try to do a homeless shelter somewhere, try to open up a little home for some retarded people who wanna work their way into the community, people say “NOT IN MY BACKYARD!” People don’t want anything near ‘em especially if it might help somebody else; part of that great American spirited generosity we hear about—pbbt!!! Great generous American spirit! You can ask an Indian about that; ask an Indian – if you can find one… you gotta locate an Indian first; we’ve made ‘em just a little difficult to find – or if you need current data, select a black family at random, ask them how generous America has been to them.”George Carlin
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