August 13, 2022

Homelessness - in sociological terms, a social problem (a social phenomenon) characterized by the lack of a place to live (no home). From the psychological perspective, homelessness is a crisis state of existence of a person who does not have an actual place of residence, deprived of the resources necessary to satisfy basic needs, permanently eradicated from the environment as a result of the disintegration of social ties and accepting his social role. As a state of evident and permanent deprivation of housing needs in a situation where the person affected by homelessness is unable to prevent it, it is associated with a serious impairment of human mental and social functioning. The nature of homelessness excludes a closed and unambiguous classification of its causes, because it is brought about by a whole set of overlapping driving forces, a set of attitudes and behaviors determined by personality predispositions, which are favored by social situations and the way social services function.

The concept of homelessness

The term homeless became popular in Polish vocabulary at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries and was associated with the victims of wars and uprisings. Then it switched to the Polish language of law and meant people who had lost their place of residence. There is no single recognized definition of homelessness. It is determined, inter alia, homelessness as a situation of people who at a given time do not have and, by their own efforts, cannot provide themselves with such a shelter that they could consider as their own and that would meet the minimum conditions that would allow them to be considered a living quarters. Homelessness is also defined as a relatively permanent situation of a man without a roof over his head or without his own apartment. There is also a legal definition included in the "Social Assistance Act", according to which a homeless person is a person who does not live in a flat within the meaning of the provisions on the protection of tenants' rights and the housing stock of a commune and is not registered for permanent residence, within the meaning of the provisions on population records, as well as a person who does not live in a flat and is registered for permanent residence in a flat where there is no possibility of living. However, such definitions are difficult to relate to the situation of homelessness, because the homeless in this sense should also be considered to be inhabitants of unregistered Third World countries or living in slums on the outskirts of large metropolises. For this reason, when defining homelessness, one should take into account the social handicap resulting from the lack of an adequate standard of living, typical of industrial societies. On the other hand, homeless people often try to develop public spaces, e.g. railway stations, in order to create a sense of their own place. Therefore, homeless people are defined through social maladjustment, deprivation of livelihoods and belonging to groups, e.g. people with mental disorders, after a long stay in a prison, addicts. Homelessness is also a social phenomenon that cannot be described in purely legal terms. Neither the formal right to live in a given apartment nor the lack of this right determine the issue of homelessness. There may be situations when family conflicts prevent the actual cohabitation in the premises where you are registered, or satisfying your housing needs despite the lack of registration and formal right to live in the premises. The lack of a home prevents normal human development, has a negative effect on mental and physical health, prevents the development of cultural aspirations, regeneration and rest. Thus, not only broadly understood housing needs are subject to deprivation, but virtually all levels of needs, starting from the most basic