Homeless Everywhere

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of herself/himself and of her/his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond her/his control.”
– Universal Declaration of Human Rights

There are few things we find common among people in the East and people in the West, or people in the South and people in the North. There are rich and there are poor.

The rich in every country are having the same luxury lifestyle. They have everything including expensive houses.

Houses in five continents:America, Asia,Africa, Australia, Europe

It is nice to have nice beautiful houses. I wish I had one. I wish everyone had one. But I would like to know whether Mukesh Ambani from his 1.8 billion dollar tower home with 27 floors, nine elevators and three helipads can see Mumbai slums where almost half of the city’s 20.5 million population live.

People are homeless both in developed and developing countries. More than 100 million people are homeless worldwide and over 1.2 billion lack adequate housing. 3 million people are homeless in European Union and 18 million live in inadequate housing. 100,000 people sleep on the streets of Australia everyday. 44% of homeless people in Australia are female, 12% of homeless people in Australia are children under the age of 12. Women and Children are the fastest growing group of those who are homeless in Canada.In Brazil, there is a deficit of 6.6 Million housing units, equaling 20 million homeless people, who live in favela (shanty town), shared clandestine rooms, hovels or under bridges and viaducts, or are squatters. 1 million people are homeless in France. 78 million people are homeless in India despite the country growing in global economic stature. India is home to 63% of all slum dwellers in South Asia. 25,296 people are homeless in Japan.In Mexico City an estimated 40% of people live in informal housing.More than 70,000 people live in shack settlements in Namibia. 30,000 people are homeless in the Netherlands. By 2015, there will be an estimated homeless population of 24.4 million people in Nigeria.Around 24,145 Palestinian homes have been demolished in the Occupied Territories since 1967. 40% of the population,32.8million, in Philippines, live in slums. 5 million people are homeless in Russia. Around 17,800 people are homeless in Sweden. Homeless figures in the United States range from 600,000 to 2.5 million.

There are different contributing causes for homelessness. 1. Family breakdown 2. Armed conflict 3. Poverty 4. Natural and man-made disasters 5. Famine 6. Physical and sexual abuse. 7. Exploitation by adults 8. Dislocation through migration 9.Urbanization and overcrowding 10. Acculturation 11. HIV/AIDS 12. Drug and Alcohol related problems 13. Unemployment 14. Low wages 15. Mental disorder 16. Physical Disabilities 18. Domestic violence 19. Lack of affordable housing 20. Social exclusion etc.

Homeless people in five continents. America, Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe

The world has enough money to solve the problems of homelessness but to my surprise I see that the number of homeless people worldwide is increasing.

I often think of a totally different kind of homelessness. They are not literally homeless but they feel homeless. Many women who live in a nice big house know very well that the house belongs to someone else. They are scared to be ‘homeless’, so they compromise with their abusive husbands to get a space in the house, but unfortunately that doesn’t stop them from having a feeling of homelessness. It is a very hopeless and helpless feeling.

I am homeless too. I do not sleep on the street but I feel homeless. I was thrown out of my home 18 years ago. My husband did not do it because I did not have a husband. It was the government. The government literally drag me out of my home and locked the door forever. The religious fanatics demanded for my execution by hanging, instead of supporting me and my freedom of expression, the government supported the religious fanatics for their own narrow political interests. I have been forced to live in the places I do not like to live. Not only me, hundreds of thousands of people are forced to live in exile. Many of them feel homeless for the rest of their lives.


  1. FlickingYourSwitch says

    At the same time, the world spends roughly $1 trillion on the global military budget every year. Insanity. Imagine what that kind of money could do if used wisely and with empathy. We could build a peaceful world where everyone gets a great education, enough food, and modern housing. But no.

    • Abdul Razak says

      Not only at the global level but almost all national levels we the human beings are lacking leadership who can uphold humanity , justice, and maintain law and order. This is the reason about $1 trillion money of peace loving people is being used terrorise and torture the same people. This can be rectified if we human beings can come out the clutches of so called religious leaders of each and every faith. we hope that a day will come and a selfless leader will rise and reform all evil acts into peacefull acts. dont lose hope, be positive

  2. says

    There are two main causes of homelessness.
    1. High Rents.
    2. Low wages.

    The people responsible are landlords and employers.
    In liberal democracies, this is the class that calls the shots.
    In the UK it is the often made out to be the fault
    of a homeless person, because they are defined to be “intentionally homeless”. But the “intention” to make people homeless comes from
    landlords and employers.
    In the UK politicians use a sort of Orwellian “Newspeak” to describe
    social housing. They say “affordable housing”, but no one asks why wage rates are not increased. Another taboo subject is “rent control”.

  3. roger ivanhart says

    You know, when I agree with someone’s writing, like yours, Taslima, I often glance over it and don’t take in as much as I should. It is a bad habit that I think arises partly because I myself have much I want to say.

    Your post, when read properly, is disturbing, haunting.

    It’s so easy for someone like me who criticises religion to concentrate on the religious aspects of a story and lose sight of the women who are affected by it. It’s bad enough that politicians treat women so badly without religion adding to their utter fear and despondency. I try but find it difficult to imagine how frightening it must be to be thrown onto the streets and then be treated as if it is your fault you are homeless.

    I read your post and felt strongly that men must be forced to treat women with respect. On reflection I ask myself, can they be forced? Will that only cause a reaction opposite to what we want to achieve? Perhaps the only way to change attitudes is little by little but it is 100 years since the suffrage movement in the UK led to women being given the vote. Even now, even in so-called ‘developed’ countries, women are still treated as second class citizens, are refused equal pay and do not have equal status with men. So slow. Too slow.

    I am left feeling despondent and helpless but with a renewed determination that this situation cannot be allowed to continue.

  4. Gorbachev says

    The ultimate issue is that some people have more than others. If you equalize women, then it will be some class of women and men.

    Ultimately, you need to eliminate differentials in wealth and institute sameness of resource distribution. You need to prevent accumulations of wealth beyond the needs of immediate survival.

    This accumulation of wealth is the beginning of it all.

    You also need to eliminate the making of bad choices by those who tend to make them; you need to institute a kind of social insurance policy such that no matter how bad your choices are, no matter what mistakes you make, ever, you are always guaranteed a home and food and water, no matter what kind of person you are or whatever you do.

    I believe they tried somethine likt this. It failed miserably. The problem is that as opportunistic animals, we take advantage whenever we can.

    And incidentally; Homelessness in the West is an almost entirely MALE phenomenon. Almost all researchers agree with this: up to 90% of all homeless people are adult males.

    There are various reasons for this, but homelessness and insecurity dog lower-class men almost exclusively. Those women who do suffer from it are outnumbered many times by the men who suffer from homelessness.

    The truth is that most outreach goes out to homeless women, first. Why? They’re seen as more worthy. The holocaust against homeless men continues.

    Nobody cares about homeless men. it’s always campaigns to stamp out homelessness among women or the tiny, almost insignificant percentage of homeless children in any Western country. The vast bulk of homeless people, almost all adult males, garner almost no sympathy, very little mention (the images are usually of childrne or women, though they make up less than 10% of homeless people), and have the fewest public resources given to them per capita.

    You might want to ask that question. As a feminist male, i see the hypocrisy inherent in a society fretting about just one class, and a minority class, of those who find themselves homeless.

    Go check the stats. Then report back and tell me how it is.

    The truth is that society in the West places more value on women than it does men, all else being equal. Women are inherently mothering, good, sources of life. Men are treated as dangerous and useless, first, and must earn their status. Women are born with it, by the mere fact of having a womb.

    There’s all kinds of oppression. As a man, I’m acutely aware that I’m always a step away from homelessness, desolation, and that once there, will get almost no sympathy or support from society. On the other hand, my sister would get lots of support, all else being equal.

    Most men are aware of this. Most men feel it.

    Male homelessness in the West is one of the very serious issues feminism is extremely blind to. As a social justice movement, it fails when it refuses to see this crushing failure of Western society.

  5. Gorbachev says

    You are born a woman in the West. Men are always otld, especialyl by women, than men must “become a man”. As in, there’s something you need to earn before you’re considered a truly adult male.

    On the other hand, a woman just needs to be.

    The obvious reasons for this are biological: Males are discardable, females are the gateway to the genetic future. One man can be replaced. it’s why societies send men off to war, not women: Sperm is cheap, eggs are pricey.

    But that’s beside the point. We’ve decided that no matter what biology says, men and women should be considered equals.

    But society hasn’t caught up with this notion in many ways, some of which privilege women over men. Not many ways, maybe. But there are some ways that they do.

    Watch for class analysis. Upper-class women are infinitely better off in every possible way than middle or lower-class men.

    In most ways, classism is more profound and more deep than racism.

    • Gorbachev says

      I means classism is oftne more pprofound and deep than sexism.
      But also likely true for racism, also. I don’t know.

  6. Gorbachev says

    Incidentally, homelessness and the threat of losingyour home is not even marginally just a female phenomenon.

    When I was married, I was obliged to endure more or less constant threats and intimidation from my wife; on more than one occasion, she would stand for an hour or two and just shout about every tiny thing she could mention. i was, by comparison, relatively meek at the time, always trying to please her and calm her.

    One of her constant threats was that she would divorce me, keep the house, make me pay the mortgage and also take alimony. and watch me be almost homeless. She made this threat on numerous occasions.

    Before you say this is an isolated event, in the United States, a very large number of men live in fear of this event.

    Supporting equal rights for women means that societies that begin to practice them usually see the scales start to balance. Yet, rhetoric rarely addresses this.

  7. ANMYS says

    At the end of the day, to help the least of the least, the world
    /communities will be better off increasing the magnitude of ‘locating them’ coz we cannot make the assumption that ‘they can locate the appropriate assistance providers’ due to various reasons….. But not every nations, states/provinces do it.
    Some organizations do ‘patrolling’ on the streets with volunteers, which is a nice idea & offer some help. But organizations can better analyse the minds of people. In some areas, you seldom see the needy where there are many but not excess people around in locations(e.g. near charities, stations).
    Though the needy may not know/be shy, just sitting/standing there.
    However, follow-up & advices must be a must at least until they can sustain their life idptly which also mean the needy has to sacrifice some of their ‘privacy'(if they consider them to be).
    The reasons why they don’t seek help could be they find it hard or slow to find them/’dignity’/’afraid of punishment’)/getting through heaps of redundant ‘procedures/guidelines’ to reach the guy who do that. Helpful people/staff will do help them do referrals, not mostly assuming seekers have the knowledge/healthy mental state to do it in the beginning. But surely ‘too robotic adherence to the ‘guidelines” may be the culprit. Groups of able volunteers with sufficient resources can help as it may/may not benefit in terms of $actual for the society if governments do it mostly/on most part. And many people know the basis of governance is for many cases.However, groups of individuals may solve it better than ‘official agencies/departments’ because they have less restrictions.
    I do think saving just a few hrs/ds/breaks/tea-time…, saving some snacks,drinks(e.g.alcochol,coffee) food for parties in weekends/some not so important festivals may give these people more time designing & carrying out the solutions. I don’t reckon we can simply judge the ‘homeless’ problem base on being gender,
    but on a case by case status. Statistics are useful, but sometimes they can make you ‘blind’. However, I do reckon children,women with children in harsh conditions need more help than others(still more prevalent the developing nations base on unstable & life-threatening political conditions. For other groups of people in developed nations/other countries, sufficient data have to be available for fair comparison & analysis.

    I know some of them are cliches, but they are worth mentioning coz cliches doesn’t mean they are useless.

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