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1.1 Social Attitudes  and processes of Social Exclusion against the
homeless popultion.

Homelessness and
begging has been negatively represented throughout society since its
criminalization in England
by the Vagrancy Act in 1824. As urban landscapes developed and moved from
developing cities to the entrepreneurial city and the importance of capital
begins to outweigh the needs of the social , the want to remove the homeless
from public domain has intensified. The production and repetition of negative
representations of homelessness has therefore resulted in an overall
anti-homeless opinion that dominates today’s society, constantly reinforcing
the processes of social exclusion and marginalisation that act upon the
vulnerable community(Amster,2003). Over
the past century there have been rising views in Western cities about the way
urban landscapes should be ordered. This chaotic phenomenon, researched by a
number of scholars is commonly known as Neo-Liberalism.(Young,1990) Such ideas
from Neo-Liberals include policies that work towards economic-Liberalisation
such as Austerity, privatization, free trade and deregulation, policies that
will have significant effects on the lower end of society. With these
neoliberal ideologies comes an increase in exclusionary attitudes towards
minority citizens, which is promoted and reinforced by popular discourse.

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states that these ideologies can  become
manifested through a collection of routine behaviours aimed to control,
regulate or even punish the ‘lower social classes’ and marginalised citizens
such as the homeless population. Neo-liberalism favours the upper class and the
economy over the social which therefore has significant implications for the
welfare state as programmes that have already been implemented to provide
services for the lower classes are seen as unsuccessful and therefore
considered worthy of government tax cuts. As a result, social policies and
legislation administered under neoliberal regime such as privatisation and
austerity have significantly altered social and economic relations in the west,
creating animosity between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie which further
intensifies processes of social exclusion (Bauman,2000).

William Davies (2014) argues that as a consequence of Neo-liberalism, a nationwide
insecurity grows through the repetition of negative popular discourse ,creating
an ever increasing intolerance for the lower classes and marginalised groups.
These individuals in society, particularly the homeless, then become associated
with the stereotypes of delinquents, addicts or criminals who benefit from
government benefit systems at the expense of the hard-working upper class
citizens ( Taylor,1999) .Therefore locales frequently used by the homeless
population are habitually avoided and as a result, the homeless themselves are
ignored because of their perceived delinquency and lawbreaking potential (Metraux
and Culhane,2006). The homeless population therefore become
victims of social exclusion. Social exclusion can be defined as a process of
long-term non-participation in “the economic, civic and social norms that
integrate and govern the society in which an individual resides” (Hills, J., Le
Grand, J. and Piachaud, D. 2002) With no means in which to contribute to the economic
or the civic, the homeless therefore find themselves shunned from the social as
they effectively cannot contribute to the urban environment in which they find
themselves living. Waldron
(1991) states that homeless individuals can have no access to legitimately
private space, the only way they can gain access is through permission from
others(p.296). Consequently they are 
denied access to public activity and public space by the biased laws of
a capitalist society that is controlled and engrained by the importance and
ruling of private property and ownership(p.297) In order to survive this
displacement and exclusion, homeless individuals acquire specific cultural and
behavioural habits that are commonly performed amongst the homeless community,
such as begging, rough sleeping, stealing and substance abuse, behaviours that
strengthen the animosity towards the population from regular citizens.
Moreover, as modern democracy relies on compliance and order and  the strict definitions of citizenship rest on
the voluntary association of individuals with the wider public, homeless people
consequently cannot be counted as legitimate citizens and are left out of most
definitions of authentic public as their participation with the public is
frequently  involuntary due to their lack
of abode. This therefore makes it difficult for them to reintegrate themselves
back into society where social norms and values are different, therefore
exasperating their already precarious and unstable position within the
community. (Social Exclusion Unit, 2001 , Jordan,1996) These exclusionary
attitudes are expressed through a range of punitive measures set out by
governmental anti-homeless laws and personal agendas from the private sector
set to regulate the conduct of the poor and exclude them from private and
public space(Garland,2001).
In response to cuts under the coalition government, local authorities have had
to reduce public spending on resources set to support people (Twinch,2013) The Homeless
Link run a survey of needs which addresses the provisions and needs required
for the homeless population in England and their 2013 provision shows that
since 2010, 133 homeless projects have closed across England, putting
significant pressure on those that were able to remain. Because of lack of
funding from governing bodies, support services have been forced to gain
funding from else where in the form of philanthropy and humanitarian aid. (Jackson,2015)

The homeless
community therefore find themselves in a vicious cycle of decline as their
position in society paired with their tabooed identity does not allow them to
receive help from the state or the public because of their lack of capital and
minimal social integration. Blomley (2008) highlights that because homeless individuals
and rough sleepers on the streets do not have a fixed address, they are unable
to claim government benefits such as job seekers allowance, housing benefits or
even vote in parliament. Current
legislation states that to vote you must be able to print out a local
connection form and return it to your local council, without a home, homeless
people are unable to do this and therefore cannot participate in democracy. Cat Smith, Labour’s spokesperson for voter
engagement states that up to 400,00 people are affected by this policy, which
condemns a barrier to democracy for people who want to participate fully in
society (Merrick,2017) These resources that are readily
available to the rest of the public may essentially be the means to bring
members of the homeless community out of their current state of poverty if they
were able to access them, thus further highlighting the inequalities the
homeless face because of their position in the social order.

The homeless
community have multiple complex needs that require constant supervision which
therefore means they will be expensive and challenging to help, something
undesired in our current age of austerity. As legislation and government
spending is pronounced by the upper class, housed individuals, the services being
delivered are often inappropriate as they are not flexible or effective enough
in treating the varying individual needs of the homeless. Homeless individuals
do not fit into one defining category of citizen and resultantly, a provision
that proves successful for one individual may not obtain successful results for
another. The services are therefore deemed ‘unsuccessful’ and complex
individuals are frequently  labelled as
‘service resistant’ and resultantly excluded from further resources due to
policy matters and funding is spent in other sectors deemed more appropriate
(Fitzpatrick,S, Pawson,H, Bramley,G and Wilcox,S,2012).  The homeless population require a consistent
and unrestricting service that can tend to their labyrinthine needs, instead of
a fragmented service that passes them from resource to resource without ever
addressing them. As a result of insufficient services, members of the homeless
community often refuse to seek help because of the repeated failure from the
state, therefore intensifying their social exclusion. Jeremy Waldron condemns
this constructed social order where those with homes and jobs are un-willing to
tolerate the mass homeless and refuse to allow them “to act as free
agents, looking after their own needs, in public spaces – the only space that
is available to them”. ( Waldron,1991,p.304) Waldron again highlights that
this leaves the homeless person “utterly and at all times at the mercy of
others” ( p. 229). As the homeless are denied access to many spaces and
are unable to gain the help they need due to processes of social exclusion they
are condemned to a life being “comprehensively un-free” (Waldron,1991
p.302). Resultantly, the homeless person is made to live their life in areas
that aren’t  administered by such rules,
including public parks, side alleys and street corners this further reinforcing
the socially constructed identity of the ‘bearded dirty male’ (Austerberry and
Watson ,1983).

 Society see’s homelessness as an epidemic. A
disease acting against the city as a severe consequence of delinquency, drug
misuse and crime. However, the overwhelming majority of literature surrounding
the issue of homelessness states that the pathway into homelessness is often
complex and varies between individual. Russell (1991) emphasises the effect
that these complex and uncontrolled events that occur throughout an
individual’s lifetime may have  in the
development of a homeless lifestyle, highlighting that anybody has the
potential to be effected by homeless and forced to live on the streets if under
the strain of various social forces such as addiction, mental illness and
family breakdown . Other academics such as DeLisi (2000) understand that
processes of social exclusion that act against the homeless do intensify their
situation but the route problem is their exposure to macro level structural
forces such as extreme poverty, lack of social services, shortage of affordable
housing and benefits as a direct result of government cuts. These are often the
main contributing factors that begin the pathway into homeless. And once these
factors take hold of an individual, personal vulnerability can augment and that
individual will become stranded and entrenched with the street lifestyle.


1.2 The Homeless Identity.


Within society, people experiencing homelessness are often categorised
and stereotyped in relation to their lives of poverty , lack of private space
and property ownership. The homeless identity created by society therefore
becomes their defining feature and is often immensely mismatched to the
individuals true self identity and personality. These social constructions that
have manifested around the identity of the  homeless individual are therefore extremely
irrevocable and can lead to mistreatment from others due to misinterpretation
of their character. The social interpretation of the homeless identity as the ‘the
dishevelled man in a duffel coat on the street’ ( Breeze and Dean, 2012: 134)
or the ‘Bag Lady’ as the stereotypical homeless woman who rummages through bins
(Kendal-Wilson and Kisor, 2002) therefore overpowers their true self identity and
finds individuals experiencing homelessness to become even more anonymous as they
do not truly understand their own sense of self and personal character amongst
the collective homeless identity. Russell (1991) discusses how  gender is another concept that is generally
ignored within homeless literature and discussion. He highlights how homeless
women are mentioned in vague detail, if they mentioned at all, and the majority
of literature, media coverage and text revolves around that of  the homeless man. Tim Creswell states that a
dire consequence of the disregard for feminine literature, homeless women
become a ‘community of outsiders’ who live on the ‘margins of a margin’ (1999). Homelessness however
is not a phenomenon that only happens to men. The Homeless Link (2017) have
found in their research that over 28% of homeless service users in housing
projects are women and that in the day centre services over 24% of the contacts
are women rough sleepers. Despite the rising number of women being effected by
homelessness and experiencing rough sleeping, provisional services are not
gendered in their approaches. The design of resources and the way they are
delivered to people accessing them have traditionally been catered to the
experiences of male rough sleepers, resultantly some approaches that are
implemented therefore do not work for homeless women as they have different,
often more complex needs to that of a male (The Homeless Link, 2017)



Bretherton (2017) discusses how poverty is
not seen to be neither gendered or racialised however, as gender is overlooked
in homeless literature and research, it leads to a construction of a
predominantly male identity. This being reinforced further through popular
discourse and media portrayals of the homeless person as scruffy males with
substance abuse problems or of the ‘male panhandler’ (Klodawsky,2006) This
masculine discourse resultantly becomes extremely immobilising for those who do
not identify with it, potentially leading homeless women to become trapped and
unable to do anything about their situation due to their relative invisibility
and exclusion from most definitions of homelessness(Watson,2000). These
degrading myths and stereotypes result in individuals on the streets
‘performing’ their identities by repetition of certain acts that are in
compliance with dominant norms (Butler,1990).
Weiner (1984) and Bretherton (2017) both highlight that women living on the
streets are often reduced to changing their gender identity and begin cross
dressing as men to avoid having attention drawn to them as a woman on the
streets. This reducing the threat of sexual scrutiny and attack, but also
allowing them to fit into the categorization of the socially constructed
homeless identity as a sense of security and self protection, allowing them to
feel like they belong in a community. As public space is seen as predominantly
masculine and private space is commonly seen as feminine (Rose,1993), homeless
women are seen as an extreme contradiction to most definitions of private and
public space and therefore risk their identity as ‘a normal woman’ by transgressing
the borderline of expected behaviour and social norms by presenting herself in
spaces where she is ‘out of place'(Radley et al,2006). Radley (2006) continues
to explain how homeless men also contradict known stereotypes surrounding
identity, as ”to be a man without property is to lack the prime means whereby
men signify as successful people.” The idea that that the male identity
should be strong, powerful and in control is therefore antithetical to the
identity of a homeless man. The homeless person therefore presents a spectacle
of disarray and decay in relation to common social norms and ideologies


For homeless individuals they do not have any socially legitimated space
and therefore have no where to call ‘their own’ or gain access to personal
space and privacy. Therefore, for an individual who is always in the public,
private activities such as sleeping, defecating and urinating must necessarily
be carried out publically. Staeheli (1996) states that the public therefore
begins to take on aspects of the home and that certain behaviours that are
socially legitimate in the home are illegitimate when carried out in public.
The homeless community therefore challenge a variety of popular discourses
through the development of their self identity and may be seen as frightening
by other civilians because by being ‘out of place’ the homeless person
threatens the proper meaning of place (Creswell,1996). How the image of homelessness
is portrayed in society is very important because the constructed image will
have different implications for who is classified as homeless and how that
individual is treated by the public. Young (2012) argues that the way that
society defines homelessness is a  fundamental step towards the process of ending
the homeless issue. If the image of homelessness is illustrated negatively then
the willingness to provide help from the public is minimal, due to the homeless
person’s perceived bad nature and common displays of dismissing help from
others. By locking individuals into incorrect identities it stops that
individual from being anything but that constructed image. Parsell (2010) discusses
how the current ‘image’ or ‘identity’ constructed by society around the homeless
person is out of date. Past representations of homelessness as drug addicts,
alcoholics and criminals results in a nationwide insecurity and increased
caution when addressing the homeless population. In addition, Parsell(2010)
puts forth that to find the most accurate solutions to homelessness we need to
see past the ‘homeless identity’ and look at the individuals experiencing the
negative phenomenon themselves and thus understand who is affected by
homelessness and why.

1.3 Anti-Homeless legislation and Hostile

Public space is a vital component of the
daily lives of homeless people, as it is the only place that they can perform
their basic human functions such as eating, sleeping, socialising and
urinating.(Johnsen and Fitzpatrick, 2007) Since the rise in capitalism and the
development of the modern entrepreneurial city, there has been a vast increase
in the regulation and surveillance of public space and its inhabitants.
Majority of scholars would argue that this trend began during the 18th and 19th
century. Doherty (2002) explains that what occurred at this time was a process
of mass enclosure of  common land. This
resulted in the majority of publically owned and commonly used land to be sold
and turned into privately owned and exclusively used land. As this trend
emerged during times of intensifying industrialisation and urban expansion, the
process of privatisation continued and spread to smaller towns on the periphery
of cities as land was needed for industrial production and residential
use(Doherty,p290.) This therefore resulted in the majority of available space
in the centre and outskirts of the urban environment being controlled by
methods of regulation. The restriction of public space has therefore been a
trend in cities since the beginning of urban expansion. O’Sullivan (2006)
explains in the National Report for
Ireland that we have entered into a ‘new phase of regulation’ of the public
as public space is either redefined as ‘private’ or ‘semi-private’ due to increased
demand for urban landscapes for industrial production, consumption and consumer

 Staples (1997) support this idea explaining
that regulation of the public is achieved through continued surveillance, put
in place through the use of monitoring instruments such as CCTV and the
application of regular policing and security personnel in
a bid to deter access to certain spaces by unwanted ‘others’. The majority of
public space in modern society revolves around the process of consumption and
capital accumulation. As the homeless cannot contribute to consumption or the
economy as a result of minimal assets, they are faced with a variety of
exclusionary practices set to expel them from urban areas in order to keep up
the image of the ‘booming metropolis’. These exclusionary practices are
performed at government level through the implementation of anti-homeless
legislation and at a social level through the spread of negative discourses
which vary from place to place (Hall,2002).

Anti-Homeless legislation is put into place
in an attempt to reduce the levels of homelessness at a national level. These
laws are created around the insecurities of the modern bourgeoisie in an
increasingly globalising world and are predominantly set to benefit themselves
against the proletariat. Goheen (1993) states that “public space, like the
right to the city is always a negotiation”, and as a result, anti-homeless
laws effectively remove a group from the negotiators table by depicting them as
criminals. He continues to express that anti-homeless legislation simply has a
goal of redefining public rights so that only the privileged and the housed can
have access to them. In modern society, the image  and culture of a place is
everything(Zukin,1995) , if a space look successful then outside investors and
trans-national companies will be attracted to it, therefore increasing the
consumption and economic value of an area. However, an area of consumption that
has an influx of homeless individuals either living or begging on the streets
suggests a state of decay in an irrational and uncontrolled society. The
homeless individual then becomes an ‘indicator species’ , a diagnostic that the
society needs to gain control and suggests a society where variations between
the public and the private are disarranged.(Ruddick,1996)

Modern democracy relies on control and is
driven by capital accumulation. Anything potentially threatening to that
accumulation must therefore be removed or changed. Mitchell (2003) discusses
how landscapes that have value to homeless people and do not possess value to
the economy must resultantly be changed so that value to the homeless is shed,
therefore removing them as their incentive to accommodate that area is gone.
Examples of this legislation and environmental alteration would be doorway
spikes, bench separators and closure of public parks. The regulation of the
poor is therefore the state attempting to safeguard capital accumulation.
(Mitchell,2003) The legal control of the homeless population inevitably makes
life impossible for the homeless individual as anti-homeless legislation
revolves around criminalising behaviours that are essential to daily life,
therefore making it very difficult for homeless people to survive
(Howland,1994). Cities are left grabbling with two contradictory processes, to
eliminate the homeless and to improve capital accumulation. The easier option
for the government is to therefore eliminate the individuals that have been
made redundant by capital that the economy is so keen to attract.

Anti- homeless laws are therefore an issue
of freedom and human rights, as they eliminate any form of free will that the
homeless community have. Mooney and Talbot (2010) discuss how CCTV is a main
factor in managing public space, for example major consumption zones such as
shopping centres. They allow certain behaviours and demeanours to be filtered
out to restore order, for example non-consumption in the form of homelessness.
They emphasise that surveillance is put in place to categorize people into
groups underpinned by notions of risk. Those valuable to the area are allowed
to move freely and those deemed a ‘risk’ are watched and controlled.
Surveillance is a way of portraying status and power over others and therefore
has strict implications on the life chances and social positioning of certain
groups. As a result, “The rise of surveillance society may be traced to
modernity’s impetus to coordinate and control” (Lyon,
2001) The rules of property in modern society therefore determine who is meant
to be where, and is controlled by the most powerful elite as a characteristic
of private ownership. The homeless therefore find that “there is no place
governed by a private property rule where he is allowed to be whenever he
chooses” (Waldron,1991) As a result of anti-homeless legislation and
alterations to the physical environment, a homeless individual becomes a
criminal and is exiled for simply existing.

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