This Saturday, stop for a moment and think about all the people across the world that don’t have a home. 10 October is World Homelessness Day where individuals and organisations are encouraged to consider what they might do to help someone who is homeless.
World Homelessness Day isn’t a day that is backed by any one particular institutions, such as the United Nations. It arose as a concept discussed by aid organisations and consists of a simple one-page website that gives some ideas about what you might do on that day. You can access it here.
There’s no agreed international definition of homelessness. In Australia, we rely on figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics which currently works with a ‘cultural definition of homelessness’. This is considered to reflect community standards about the minimum housing that people have the right to expect and for the ABS that is a small rental flat with an element of security of tenure.
Definitions are always difficult and the definition of homelessness is contentious. Are people that live in extremely crowded dwellings homeless? If you live in a caravan park with no security of tenure are you homeless? If there is no kitchen or toilet facilities does that mean you are homeless?
At the Property Industry Foundation, we think that the concept of having a home – particularly for children and young people – should encompass the core values we associate with a home. It should be a safe place for you. It should be secure, both in terms of some kind of tenure and from the outside world.
We say that being homeless isn’t about not having a roof over your head, it’s about having a place to call home.