There are varies definition for homelessness in differentcountries. For instances, HomelessEmergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2012 inclusioncriteria (USA) defined homelessness as individuals who do have a fixed residence andfor those who live in a place that is not suitable for habitation of human (Geertsema, Edgar, O’Sullivan and Pleace, 2010). While European Typology of Homelessness and Housing Exclusion (ETHOS) defines a person as homeless if they are roofless (Federation of National Organisations Workingwith the Homeless, 2012). However, in Australia, homelessness is categories into three definition. The first definitionis individuals withoutregular accommodation, the second definition is individuals with living in shelters or temporarily with family or friends and the three definition is with living in substandard housing such as boarding homes (Homelessness Taskforce Department of Families, Housing, CommunityServices and Indigenous Affairs, Commonwealth of Australia, 2014). TheUnited Kingdom is the only country with a statutory response to homelessness who do not have place available for occupation, should be provided them place (Minnery and Greenhalgh, 2007). So thereasons for them to be homeless is varies.
Basically, the factors that lead to homelessness canbe divided into two, which are structural and individual factors. Structural factoris a factor resulting from social, political or especially economic structure thatcould directly causes a person at high risks of homelessness. Factorssuch as shortage of economical rented housing, poverty of country and naturaldisaster are grouped into structural factors. Family disorganisation, loss of job, poor education,poor physical health, mental illness and addictions are grouped into individualfactors, which are personal characteristics that could leads homelessness(Johnson, Scutella, Tseng, Wood, 2015). Proponents of structural reasons mostlysupport that individual reasons of homelessness are more common compared to structuralfactors (Blau, 1992; Barak, 1992; Hoch & Slayton, 1989; Wright, 1989, ascited in Thomas Main, 1998).
Researchers are arguing among themselves about what isthe main reason for homelessness. Some of them say that structural factors arethe main reasons, some of them say individual factors are the main reasons.This confusion is because of the different main causes of homelessness.One of the structural factors that lead tohomelessness is lack of affordable housing (Cohen, 1999). In United States, people will choose to live with their relativesor friends while others, especiallythose without social networks, will not find a home at all withoutthe existence of economical housing (Krivo, 1989?Rossi, 1989?as cited in Elliott and Krivo, 2012; Joint Center for Housing Studies, 1993 as citedin Shinn, 2012). In addition, reducing federal support for public housing construction, lack of units in privatemarket, growing waiting lists for public housing,increasing home ownership costs, more frequent displacement and abandonment ofresidential buildings have all operated to reduce the supply of affordable housing that cause theincrease in homelessness (Hartman,1986; Hope and Young, 1986; Hopper and Hamberg, 1986; Huttman, 1988; Rossi andWright, 1987; Wright and Lam, 1987 ,as cited in Elliott and Krivo, 2012; Dolbeare, 1991 as cited in Shinn, 2012).
Eventually people are unable to find alternative living arrangements, short of emergency shelters and finally sleep onthe street (Elliott and Krivo, 2012; Shinn and Gillespie, 1994). In Yemen, the housing shortage is 787,069 unitsincluding the replacement of some of unsuitable units. There is no housing supply by the governmentuntil now. Most people do not have the ability to afford own houses and become homelesspeople (Aldhabebi, 2007; Alaghbari, 2008 as cited in Alaghbari, Salim, Ali and Dola, 2009). In Australia,the lack of affordable and economical housing is the result of government policywhich has cut the availability of public housing and it will causepeople in danger of being in state of homelessnesss especially for older people(Fopp,2002; Kavanagh 1997; Lipmann 1999, as cited in Morris, Judd and Kavanagh, 2005).
The social housing stock dropped ‘from 6.1percent of all housing in 1996 to 5.1 percent in 2003’ and it is estimated the government funding for the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement(CSHA) fell by 54 percent between 1994 and 2004 (McClure, 2004; Powall and Withers, 2004, as cited in Morris,Judd and Kavanagh, 2005). In UK, there is a decrease in low-cost housing stockcaused by conversions of rentals to private ownership. And the market could not provide sufficient suitableaccommodation at a reasonable price (Adams, 1986; Hopper, 1988; Greve, 1991, as cited inBhugra, 1996; Pleace,1998). For example, London has 742000 council units and a waiting list of 306000 applicants(Department of Environment, 1993; Greve, 1991, as cited in Bhugra, 1996). Thesecond structural factor of homelessness is economic changes (Elliott and Krivo, 2012).
In France, industrial restructuring lead to income loss for blue-collar workers or loss of access to employment and housing (Firdion and Marpsat, 2007, as cited in O’Sullivan, Geertsema, Quilgars and Pleace, 2010). InNew York, there is a link between recent recessions in economy and increases in homelessness (O’Flaherty and Wu, 2006; Cragg and O’Flaherty, 1999, as cited in O’Sullivan, Geertsema, Quilgars and Pleace, 2010). InUS, the economy change from manufacturing to service industries hasincreased the proportion of unstable, low paying jobs which do not provide enough income to support monthlyhousing costs (Elliott and Krivo? 2012). In Canada, global and domestic changes in the economy such as trade liberalization and deindustrialization had a direct influence on the growth of poverty and lead to growingnumbers of people winding up on the streets (Gaetz, 2010). On the other hand, the first individual factor ofincreasing of homeless people especially children and women who sleeping on thestreets as a result of domestic violence (Wee, Omar, 2015; Yani et al., 2016;Cohen, 1999).
Majority homeless women complain that they are forced to leavehomes because of they are unable to bear violence anymore (Adib, Ahmad, Hussin,2016). The victims of domestic violence always forced to find the othershelters for the purpose of protection (Roschelle, 2008). The followingstatistics show that the high percentage of domestic violence which happened indifferent countries that lead to homelessness. There are 38% of women in Korea(Kim & Cho, 1992) and 41% of women in Tamil and Uttar Pradesh (Jejeebhoy& Cook, 1997) are beaten by their husbands. There are 52% of the women inNicaragua are being abused by their partners (Ellsberg et al., 1999).
Most ofthe victims were ravaged physically and psychologically of domestic violence.The physically ravage such as injuries, sexual abuse and bones broken that willdirectly leads to psychologically ravage just like stress, social isolation,anxiety and also depression. When these kind of cases happened, some of thevictims choose to flee from their homes due to safety factor.
They felt thattheir homes are no longer safe to stay and even willing to sleep on thestreets. National Incidence Studies found that 67% rise of child abuse fromyear 1986 to 1993 in United State (Putnam, 2003). When children are abusedeither physical, sexual or psychological abuse by their parent, the childrenwill live in fear, depression and having problem in academic and interpersonalrelationship. After a long duration, these effects will directly destroy theirchildhood. Under this condition, mothers are forced to flee from homes togetherwith their children just to save their children since they are unable to solvethe problems. In short, the significant contributor of women and children tobecome homeless is because of they could not bear the violence anymore. Thenext individual factor that leads to homelessness is they loss of job (Yani,2016; Johnson, 2015; MacKenzie & Chris, 2008; Hertzberg, 1992; Tessler etal., 2001).
The following statistics show that the high percentage ofunemployment rate in different countries that contribute to homelessness. Thereare 89% of homeless people had ever jobless and it will cause a risk ratio of5.45 to become homeless in America (Johnson et al., 1997). In Malaysia, theunemployment rates soared about 3.1% from 5.5% to 8.6% from year 1983 to 1988(Noor, Nor, Ghani, 2007).
The Department of Statistics Malaysia (2011) foundthat the unemployment rate among the graduates in Malaysia had rose from 3.2 %in 2007 to 3.7% in 2009 (Hanapi & Nordin, 2013). In India, the number ofunemployed increased from 2.33 to 6.48 million from year 1955 to 1961 (Tilak,1965). In South Africa, urban unemployment rate is about 29.
3% at year 1997(Kingdom & Knight, 2004). When there are high unemployment rate in thecountry, many people who loss of a job will have no income to pay the rent andface the forced eviction. One of the factors that lead to high unemploymentrate is the quality of the employees. Some of the employers will criticise onthe employees who are lack of qualifications or some skills, like communicationskills, leadership and also language. The employees who are lack ofemployability skills will directly affect the employment. As we know, theunemployment rate of graduates in Malaysia is high, how about the people whoare with health problems and disabilities, they are also having the problems offinding a job. This condition results that homelessness is getting serious withpeople who are having health problems and also disabilities.
Besides, teenagersnowadays request for high employee welfare when finding a job. For instances,high salary, comfortable working environment, good quality work, short workingtime and so on, so that is why the employers are willing to hire the foreignworkers with low salary compared to local workers. Thus, results in decreasingof job opportunity and increasing of unemployment rate. When jobless peoplefinding for a shelter, they are having difficulties to pay the rent and alsogetting trust by the house owner.
Therefore, they have no choice and forced tosleep on the streets. Based on what we found on this topic, it seems thatmore researchers agree that individual factors are the main reason ofhomelessness. However, the main factor of homelessness varies in differentcountries since different countries having different conditions and background.Both structural and individual can said to be relative to each other, becauseboth factors can be the contributors for homelessness or one of them or neitherbased on the conditions of that country. For example in a developed country,although a person who are having a job and able to buy a house, the personchooses to flee from house just because of enjoying to be homeless, it isneither structural nor individual factor that contribute to this situation. Ina developing country, a jobless person who are unable to pay for high rent, itis also neither structural nor individual factor that contribute to thissituation. In most of the developed countries like United States and Korea, thefactor that contributes to homelessness is domestic violence, while in Canada,the factor is the change of economy.
In Japan, a sharply increase of homelesspeople happened just after the natural disaster such as earthquake, in whichearthquake destroy most of the houses in the country. There is an obviously gapbetween developed and developing countries in which most of the developing orunder developed country like India and South Africa, the factor that leads tohomelessness is high unemployment rate causes them become jobless. This is whythe researchers argued among themselves about whether structural or individualfactor more contributes to homelessness since the researchers having differentperspectives on the main factors based on different countries. In conclusion, both structural and individual factorscan be the main factor that contribute to homelessness because the factors thatlead to homelessness varies due to different countries and differentbackground.