The homeless person is thought to be different. Whereas we get to determine our difference or sameness, the homeless person’s difference is imposed upon them and assumed to be known because of their homelessness. Exclusion from housing – either a commodity that should be accessed from the market or social provision – signifies the homeless person’s incapacities and failure to function in what are presented as unproblematic social systems.
Drawing on a program of research spanning ten years, this book provides an empirically grounded account of the lives and identities of people who are homeless. It illustrates that people with chronic experiences of homelessness have relatively predictable biographies characterised by exclusion, poverty, and trauma from early in life. Early experiences of exclusion continue to pervade the lives of people who are homeless in adulthood, yet they identify with family and normative values as a means of imaging aspirational futures.