The New Homeless
of the 1990s

Homelessness today denotes harsher basic shelter deprivation. Street homelessness has increased from nearly insignificant scopes to more than half of the homeless population. Moreover, the new homeless population consists of more women than ever before. Today's homeless people are in their middle and lower thirties. The new homeless have less income than the old. The new homeless consist of different ethnic minorities. Physical disabilities also are prevailing among the new homeless.

While homeless men are often seen pushing loaded shopping carts filled with their possessions, homeless women collect shopping bags. On a metaphorical level, as women desire a place to keep things, shopping bags and their contents convey the image of carrying and caring, and while they reflect feelings of the individual possessor, they also fulfill a female role (Abelson). Most people view the homeless as outcasts--segregated from society, morally questionable, disruptive of social order, and dangerous. The lack of affordable accommodation is the greatest sole factor in the new outburst of homelessness.