Unfortunately, collaborative work is not always a success. For the proposal brainstorming session, there was a lot of confusion within the group as to what needed to be done. Because of a lack of clarity, the map itself is quite bare.
Initially the group attempted to write down solid ideas for everyone’s problem statements where four out of five members were dealing with an aspect of stigma towards the homeless community. This lead to numerous overlaps, stagnation of ideas and overall exhaust of creative thinking. It was not until towards the end of the session where a tutor approached the group, clearly noticing the struggle to populate the sheet of butcher’s paper that we realised the ideas we were generating did not need to be solid at this stage, and could be as bare as pinpointing the emotions we wanted to draw out from our proposed outcomes. These words of wisdom were a touch too late as the session was at an end and members burn out. However the session laid the foundations for post class creative thinking and brainstorming.
The one key aspect that this session did demonstrate was that a majority of the group wanted to highlight on the negative stigmatisation towards people in the homeless community. After much reflection, I felt that it may be intriguing if I explored this issue in a more positive angle. This meant I had to fill in the cracks of my research which had not yet fully looked at the issue from that perspective.
TedTalks are a valuable resource of gaining anecdotal reflections on issues. I had gone through numerous talks from people who had a part to play with the issue of homelessness within their community or were they themselves, homeless.
During my small research session, I reflected on one or two key insights from each of the Ted Talks speakers. Optimism, hope and positive change were recurring themes. The most influential driver to the direction of my brainstorming came from the talk “How can I bring dignity to the homeless? “ by Joel Hunt who said
“We can approach people with respect for themselves, we can offer a handshake, a smile a hello- their reception to our action isn’t our responsibility but as a person you tried. It’s about how we as a community of individuals can come together to bring hope.Smiles. Dignity can be restored through hope.”- J.Hunt 2014.
It was through this, I began to feel that shaming and blaming may not generate an effective positive reception from the target audience of 18-25 year olds as the message of the design may fall short from the scalding, condescending and potentially mocking tone some of the potential design responses could engender. I personally would’t listen to a twitter bot if I was misusing language in relation to homelessness.
From this exercise, I brainstormed a scope of emotions I may want to generate from my design proposition and began ideating in accordance with emotions that I felt may generate a stronger, more meaningful outcome all the while keeping in mind of my human and non human stake holder map.
Spectrum of emotions I wanted to achieve through my design proposition. Yanovsky.M, 2016)
At home attempt of a brainstorm of ideas. Yanovsky.M, 2016)
Data visualisation Option. Yanovsky.M, 2016)
Generative Design and Service Design Hybrid Option. Yanovsky.M, 2016)
From the brainstorming and further research I generated a list of roughly 9 ideas. For the sake of blog I have split up where I have placed some of these ideas, some are located in my blog post 8. From this list I picked a few that I thought could make for interesting design propositions then broke them down into examinations of their category, making sure to examine stakeholders and emotion as well as purpose. My two favourite options (shown above) are on polar ends of what I would hope to achieve. Focusing on emotional impact was an effective way of zeroing into my thoughts and generating unexpected ideas, either of which I would be more than happy to make.
For this exercise I chose to use two Social media platforms, Twitter and Instagram. Twitter is an online social media/networking platform where the primary function is so the user can send a ‘tweet’ of no more than 140 characters. These tweets can be seen and shared by other users publicly or privately and a user can hashtag tweets. Paul Gil has described Twitter as Microblog where user can send short bursts of text. Because of the text limitation, twitter provides users with additional features so that they are able to get more out of their experiences such as polls, the Twitter timeline, mention Tweets, pinned Tweets, lists messages and cards as well as click to Tweets to extend the conversations beyond the limitations of of one Tweet.
Instagram is an online social media platform for photo and video sharing. It allows users to take photos and video, and share it wither publicly or privately, attach hashtags, cross share over other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and search for content through hashtag filters. Originally a distinctive feature was that it shared photos confined to small square parameter (640×640 fixed resolution and maximum 15-second limit) which the user can add filters and do small edits to their photos to achieved a “filtered effect”. Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010 as a free mobile app for android and apple.
Instagram allows users to post photographs within a 640×640 fixed resolution or 15 second video limit, this almost forces the user to be their own curator to make, creative good use of the limited space, forcing the user to focus on what they want to show. Using “hipsteresque” filters to create visual appeal which allows iPhone photos to approach a similar quality as those photos taken on DSLR and edited on Adobe photo editing suit which can change the entire look and feel of the a photograph. This is made easy and readily available to a wide variety of people. Instagram also makes it possible for people to tailor their accounts to themes or visual aesthetics where they use the Instagram limitations plus their own to convey a readily updatable record of photography.
Twitter is an application that however allows users to generate quick, short “tweets” that are a short snap-shot of their own personal thoughts, opinions and copy line making them more poignant (when there is a point). Through twitters restrictions and added features twitter can easily transcend its own platform to other social media sites such as Facebook extending traffic. Entire Discussions can arise through embedding tweets with hashtags, coupled with 144 character limit makes it an interesting platform of discourse.
Even though I am discussing Instagram, a large part of my process involved the automated features with scraping data for Twitter. Initially, I used tutorial run exercises to delineate key words that I had some sort of interest in exploring. From those keywords I began running Twitter key word and hashtag searches using the advanced settings. This mainly involved looking at hashtags for the key words “hobo, homelessness, homeless, sleeping on the street, I have no home”. After having done my own analysis of the findings, which included extensive searches for further unique hashtags, I put the xml version of my Google spreadsheets file into two online data based analytics sites WTFCSV and Brand 24 to get a quantifiable and numerical understanding of my results. From all of these results and findings that I gained from analysing the verbal feel of Twitter as well as the analytical content of my searches, I began co-orchestrating hashtag searches on Instagram to get a visual estimation of what was being explored and shared without the influence of written text. I had done this in the hopes to get a visual feel for for the more “true to heart” colour, tone and mood on the subject matter.
In a previous post I explored the perspectives and cultural influences on the topic of homelessness through the use of casual interviews and data probing. One of the largest limitations I found was that these methodologies impeded the genuine responses towards the topic of homelessness as people became aware of the nature of the topic through my research and discussions with me. Social media platforms have helped to bridge the gap and have given me an insight to a larger network of unadulterated opinions, perspectives and bias’s that are in some cases, completely removed from ethical influences.
There were multiple intriguing results. My initial search consisted of data mining twitter for the use of the key tag #hobo. This was the word that stuck out to me the most during the word association exercise. The search provided a very stigmatised set of results with a large proportion of tweets found came from people discussing their appearance and aligning their disheveled nature to that of a hobo. These tweets often came from American Highschool students (probably because they were going back to school). But all followed a similar formula. This idea was entrenched further by fashion brands repetitively using the term “hobo” to describe their brand new products such as “hobo bags””hobo jackets”:-
The colloquialism is generally associated with homeless people, however interestingly enough, the dictionary defined essence of the word is “a traveling worker”, which in the current context of modern societies is far removed to those who are in an impoverished state because they can not for what ever reason work. This data set was intriguing because of how much it showed how the term “hobo” has seeped into everyday vernacular and how desensitizing colloquialisms become.
Because these tweets were particularly negative, I decided that to gain broader results I would take a step back and filter the keywords homelessness, homeless shelter, I am homeless. Interestingly, comparing my analytical exploration of the data set returned and a computer analyser there were clashing results. Upon my own investigation I believed that the tonne of writing was negative and the outlook was grim, however when placed within a computer analytics site called Brand 24, the results demonstrated a contrasting idea.
When I looked at the Tweets again, I noticed that a large proportion of the positive angled tweets were advocate based, with many organisations attempting to gain awareness of their campaigns through Twitter.
As interesting as that stream of ideas was leading, I decided that I still wasn’t completely filling in a certain gap which was attempting to find general public based standpoints and potentially positive empathies.
This is where the search transitioned from Twitter to predominantly Instagram through their homeless related hashtags. I felt that looking at just Tweets had painted a picture that was too clear, and I wanted to keep my horizons slightly more open. Even though they were also a lot of advocate posts, the beauty of Instagram was that it provided me with a colour palette of thinking. Quite often as you scroll through any of the hashtags found on the list,the imagery is dark, urban, gritty, often very bleak to help convey meaning. A lot of thePhotography is black and white enhancing the impoverished nature of the subject matter and darker filters are used created a muted, darker tone in photography.
This creates a less alienated barrier between positive and negative perceptions. These flecks of gold, reduce the us and them connotations, bringing forth the visible homeless community to a more even playing field within human empathy.
From these findings, I have found that data mining provides a hashtag “colour palette” and from these colour palettes the general feel from people on this topic is more effectively and truthfully conveyed. By exploring both Twitter and Instagram, I was able to draw conclusions from both sides of the coin.
Rather than focusing on simply creating a visualisation of all these concepts. I took a dominating concept which was lack of empathy, and thought that maybe it would be interesting to combine data gathering and data visualisation into one. The twitter and Instagram scraping demonstrated that there is a lack of human centred empathy. This proposal is all about giving both the researcher and participant a “first hand” understanding of the problem. The interviewer would be supplied with a sheet of paper with a heat activated ink coating. The participant would be required to place their hand on the sheet and the interviewer would conduct a short conversation.The idea being, that the longer the conversation the darker the impression.Once complete both participant and interview will have a live understanding of the nature of empathy, with the understanding that the conversation will last for longer if the participant has a broad understanding, and the participant will have a broad understanding if there is to some extent a deeper emotional engagement to the topic. This would aim to poetically visualise the concept that I extruded from my data scraping.
This next sketch is a possible data visaulisation for the dominant colours found in Instagram images. The idea is to chart the colour palette of a #homeless feed to chart the range and frequency in which dominant colours appear. This would hopefully aim to demonstrate that bright and bold colours are a scarcity when in visual conversation about this particular topic.
Even though the results from this data scrape have been interesting and some of the research possibilities could be explored into even greater detail, I would love to repeat this process analysing Reddit. Reddit has less of an activist angle and can often be a true reflection of opinion. For example, one of my first searches I came across a discussion on “What I would give a homeless person”. These sort of results would be more poetic.
From this data scrape, I have learnt that the most passionate posts come from advocate campaigns, which generate interesting hashtags to be used within photography and tweets.
There is a big “us vs them” issue happening, I feel as if my current research hasn’t resolved what non human factors are involved within this and what sorts of objects could create a relational connection between anyone who is homeless and people who are not. This is something that Reddit touched upon.
Scraping for data is fascinating, and you need to go into it not knowing what you want to find otherwise it hinders with the creative analytical process. There are a lot of opinions that can be collected (ultimately without too much judgement). I would attempt this process a few more times, and try create a for more sets of data to try and find other angles to stigmatization. Maybe try some new keywords as well or statements that people actually use when discussing an experience they may have had with a homeless person.
Twitter has become both a social and professional platform allowing dissemination of anything from random thoughts, ignorance and pointless memes to breaking news and public opinion. With 313 million active global users recording and sharing their thoughts, feelings and experiences, twitter is a real-time source of information and has become a medium in which people can keep up with those they know and those they don’t. The 140-character limitation on posts makes it a perfect tool for researching public opinion and scraping the platform for data, without being overwhelmed.
Web Scraping Process
Twitter archiver was my main source when scraping the web, as it allows you to create a search rule and, unlike other tools such as twitter advanced search or facebook, it collates the results into a single excel spreadsheet. This feature became invaluable in gaining insights from the results as it allowed me to sift through the information using specific terms, further refining my results. Insights often came as a result of tangents, originating in previous search results.
Not being a twitter user myself, I stumbled at the start. I created a twitter account and downloaded twitter archiver and linked it to my gmail account. Initially, I ran searches that were very specific, in an attempt to find information on stereotyping and the technological divide within homelessness. I set the location to Sydney, however, this failed as I did not receive a single result. So, I changed the location and widened the search to Australia. Again, I was being too specific with the number of words I was using and twitter archiver came back with nothing.
I then decided to change my approach and create a simple search of ‘homeless’ and ‘stereotyping’ which produced 14, 931 results. I then used the search tool to search for key words from the group issue mapping class within the data set. This helped me to break down the vast amount of information and to see what people were saying about issues within homelessness. This became a very interesting process. The initial words I searched within the results were quite basic as I was still getting use to using the software. However, they still provided insights and I have listed the most frequent words below.
Interestingly, homeless men were referred to 4,279 times compared to only 251 times for homeless women. This is in line with the statistics revealed through one of my earlier posts that stated 82% of Sydney’s homeless are male and only 17% are female. As these posts were not Sydney specific, it is interesting to see that these statistics may also be a good indication of the situation in other parts of the world. I am curious as to why the numbers of homelessness between sexes differs so significantly. And can begin to understand why previous sources outlined a lack of services tailored to homeless women. I can only assume that this is due to less demand for them..? I could look further into the specific causes of male homelessness, contrast it to female homelessness and see if there is an opportunity to intervene with my design response.
Another observation was that the word ‘help’ only appeared in 1,137 posts out of 15,000. Looking further into these posts I found, ‘help’ took different forms. Some were genuine posts about helping the homeless with information of individuals lending a hand or community projects. It was really interesting to see how others were approaching and tackling the issue on a personal level.
Other twitter users made genuine offers help. In his case twitter was used as a form of communication to reach people in a particular area to help assist in helping those in need. This highlighted the possibility of technological responses that act as a connection between those with something to offer and those in need. Service design could bridge the gap between say, small businesses with food or accomodation available and the homeless.
While each of the above insights were interesting, perhaps the most interesting insight was not only the presence of stigma in these posts but stigma as a result of the frequent misuse of the word homeless. While there were 15,000 posts that included the word homeless, I found that more often than not people were using it as part of casual conversation, to describe their lack of dress sense or effort invested in the appearance of friends or celebrities.
It seems that, no matter how hard I try to broaden my understanding of the issue, I always seem to arrive back at stigma, perceptions of the homeless and ignorance towards their circumstances.After seeing these tweets, I decided to look into how the misuse of language is hindering our ability to tackle homelessness. As a result, I then ran a search on the term hobo to understand how often it was being used within the twitter sphere. This search found 10,732 results with the term hobo included in it.
“RT @emmaabel_: I am going to try and make myself look decent tmmr and not like a hobo”
“@Lizbeth_923: First Date And I Look Like A Hobo 🙂”
I believe the ubiquitous misuse of language surrounding homelessness is dehumanising the homeless, and ultimately, taking away from the issue. This is not only present in social conversations and personal online interactions, but is also reinforced by the fashion industry as seen below with the release of the ‘hobo’ bag.
Shockingly, the term hobo is also being used as a design response to the issue, evident in the iHobo app. The virtual pet app that puts a homeless person in your pocket for you to feed and take care of. Forget to feed your hobo and he dies or runs off to get drugs. I think using gaming to tackle peoples perceptions is an interesting idea but I can’t help but feel this approach is distasteful, to say the least, and is reinforcing the publics stereotypical and often negative perceptions on the issue, not to mention dehumanising those in need.
To further investigate this area, I could also try searching the term ‘tramp’ and other common names used to describe the homeless. The above tweets highlight a severe lack of empathy among the general population for those suffering from homelessness. Homelessness does not seem to be a topic that people are talking passionately about. The homeless have fallen by the wayside and we are all so desensitised to the issue that homelessness has become commonplace in daily language for all the wrong reasons.
Design responses could enable change in this area, and I would like to focus on the role language plays in the issue. I think there are already a number of individuals and NGO’s working to directly help the homeless so I would like to instead create a design response that tackles the wider issue and aims to influence the views people have of the homeless. Tackling this wider problem of perception, assumptions and language would aim to influence the common vernacular rather than direct action on a smaller scale. This would hopefully result in a knock on effect, creating empathy and engagement among the wider population, to ultimately generate positive outcomes on a wider scale.
In terms of it’s form, I could create a twitter bot that calls people out on their misuse of particular words. However I think this would breed hostility rather than empathy. Language will be an important element and in order to generate a feeling of empathy I think the design would be suited to a poetic response that encompasses feelings and a the contradiction of meanings.
In an attempt to reveal relationships between language and the the number of homeless people, I could visualise the frequency of misuse of vital words. Perhaps I could plot the locations of these misuses and correlate this data with the number of homeless people in that particular area to see the relationships between the two and to discover how local attitudes affect the issue. However I am hesitant to do that as I do not think data will generate an empathetic response in the way that I am hoping.
Five Point Summary
Twitter and twitter archiver are both very effective tools in scraping the web for data to understand how the wider population are feeling towards homelessness.
It is important to remain open to outcomes outside your initial understanding. I went into this process with a focus on stigma and the technological divide, yet ended up delving further into the role language plays in creating barriers to a solution.
Those offering food, services or accommodation on a personal level have great difficulty in finding the right people to help. Perhaps a service could be designed to bridge this disconnect.
More often that not, conversation around homelessness is not referring to the issue at all and is used more so in casual conversation to describe appearances. The misuse of homeless terminology is rife among the online community and has seeped into the common vernacular ultimately resulting in a lack of empathy towards sufferers.
Homelessness does not seem to be a topic that people are talking passionately about. The homeless have fallen by the wayside and we are all so desensitised to the issue that homelessness has become commonplace in daily language for all the wrong reasons.
EWapo. 2014, ‘I’m playing a game called iHobo where you look after a tramp and I’m legit checking up on him every 5 minutes, I’m here for you trampy’, Twitter post, 10 January, viewed 3 September 2016,<https://twitter.com/EWapo/status/421761288617091072>.
Understanding perceptions and stereotyping is key in understanding how and why society thinks of homeless people in the way they do. For my interview I really wanted to dig deep and uncover the thoughts of people between the ages of 18-25. I interviewed a university student to further discover these issues and explore the issue of homelessness and how her views could impact my findings.
I began my interview with some basic questions to understand what kind of perspective April has on the homeless community. Ultimately when asked how she feels when she sees a homeless person she expressed her sympathy for them.
“I feel pity, and feel sorry for them. I share empathy for them, as they are very unfortunate”
To further investigate her perception of homeless people I continued to ask what she thinks the causes of homelessness is. Unsurprisingly, the answers that were provided were as I expected as I had the same views before I started my investigation into homelessness. Based on her assumed knowledge and what she’s heard, she stated that she feels the main causes of homelessness are mainly drugs and alcohol, family and financial issues. But as we progressed with our conversation I discovered she’d rather spend her money on herself because she’s uncertain of where they’d spend the money if she donated it to them. She expressed that instead of change they will continue to waste their money on unnecessary items rather than changing their lifestyle. But the uncertainty is that maybe they don’t know where to begin, or are too embarrassed to approach centres.
The conversation develops into the harsh realities the issue of homelessness and how the people of the public view it. As a university student that passes Central tunnel all the time, there are constantly homeless people asking for spare change or for food. Often ignored, they are perceived as invisible. When asked what her response is if she were to be approached and asked for help by a homeless person, she states that she carries on like it’s a causal day, oblivious to her surroundings and continues to walk.
“Usual casual day walks past, ignore than and decline”
Because of this repeated action the thought of her ignoring a homeless person quickly leaves her mind and does not linger resulting with her getting used to the action and moving on with her day.
As we discuss the issue of homeless in the short amount of time that we had, she conveys her thoughts on how society and the public are selfish and only like to think of themselves when it comes to complex and social issues like homelessness. The issue of homelessness isn’t often spoken about because society chooses to ignore and dehumanise them causing them to think that they are lesser than themselves. She communicates that they don’t concern us or impact our daily lives so as a result we neglect them and ignore their requests for help.
To further gather insight into the extent of the issue of homelessness around the city, I asked my interviewee to keep a tally of all the homeless people she sees on the way home. The results are as follows.
The amount of people shown vary from day to day but show a significant insight into just how many people live on the street. This is a small indication to show just how big this issue is and that extra awareness needs to established in order to abolish these typical stereotypes.
Given the short time we had to conduct the interview, I was able to gather some insight into the issue of homelessness among the age group discussed earlier. Of course with more interviews I think I would have a better understanding into the perceptions of my audience.
As expected, my interview confirmed my thoughts of the stereotypes already established within society. After investigating into the mind of my interviewee it was clear that most of the communities do not know the struggles homeless people go through to survive. They take one look at them and quicken their pace to avoid any contact with them. Hopefully with extra research and findings, I hope to create a better understanding of homelessness and social exclusion for communities.
Five Summary points
Evidence that there is a lack of understanding when it comes to homelessness
Instead of assisting the homeless and have a better understanding of their situation, the public is more likely to pass by and use the money for themselves
Society is viewed as selfish. They only like to think of themselves when it comes to materialistic objects. Whereas the homeless view them as a survival tool
Homelessness is a complex and underrated issue that needs awareness to educate the public about this problem within the community
Stereotypes were confirmed while progressing with the interview
Around 3000 people are homeless in Barcelona. The Arrels foundation supports homeless people on their way to independence, by offering accommodation, food and social and health care. In 2013, Arrels worked with 1,354 people, 436 of whom actually sleep in the street. In 2014, there was currently about 3,000 homeless people in Barcelona, 900 of whom actually lived on the street.
In partnership with The Cyranos Mccann, an advertising agency, the Arrels foundation joins the artistic side with social commitment. As stated by the director of the Arrels foundation, Ferran Busquets, their aim was to “raise and transform the popular view of the issue of homeless people” and to bring some dignity to the life of the homeless. By organising workshops to turn their handwriting into typefaces, this became a powerful tool to raise awareness about homelessness.
The project focuses the unique handwriting of homeless people. The handwriting of someone gives an insight of their personality and the Arrels foundation wanted to bring these two aspects together. They created different workshops for participants to do various typographic exercises where it then goes through a design process which results in a useable font. Brands can purchase them through the homelessfont.org website and get to hear the stories of the people who participated in the project. The fonts could also be used on brands different platforms such as their social media, brand identities, advertising, stationery etc.
All the funds that is collected through Homelessfonts.org will be used to finance the works of the Arrels foundation for homeless people in Barcelona.
map one: initial map of focusing on homelessness between the age bracket of 18-25. (map one, collective group, 2016)
To begin the research into homelessness, I began to brainstorm everything that was to my knowledge. This collaborative map investigates some opinions, interests and attitudes from our understanding of the specified age group of 18-25. Although a minority are aware of the issue, the majority of the individuals lack the understanding and social awareness of this serious issue and lack the empathy to contribute and raise the awareness needed to assist the homeless. From this map it allowed us to further explore and investigate complex factors that contribute to youth homelessness.
map one: primary participants and stakeholders involved in the issue of homelessness. It also includes details regarding the category (map one, Dakkak 2016).
My initial map explores all the possible stakeholders and participants involved in the issue of homelessness. It focuses on powerful sectors of society but also individuals.
map two: map two focuses on the people who experience homelessness and some possible reasons why. (map two, Dakkak 2016).
I continue exploring the options by focusing on the people who are most likely to experience homelessness and the reasons as to why they would end up homeless.
map three: collaborative map of stakeholders from most powerful to least power. (map three, collective group, 2016)
At this point into out research, after working on a word exercise in relation to homelessness, we explored the stakeholders and placed them on a map considering how powerful they were. Towards the top of the map, the powerful government and business based groups that have the upper hand in society are placed. They control money, law and society. As a result these are the groups that use their power to their advantage and control the perspective of society rather than using it to fix the issue. As we move to the bottom of the map it illustrates the members of the public who have the least power. This conveys the the people of society who have little power and have difficulties with the issue of the position they’re in.
Below are 10 images that portray the issue of homelessness. They all share a powerful meaning exploring the dangers and realities of being homeless in society.
This image illustrates India’s youth living on the street with nothing more than the resources that they have available. The child can be seen posing as if it would be a normal fashion editorial campaign. The title “Winter Collection” can be seen in a different light than what society is used to, creating the audience to come to the realisation of what little materials and clothes the homeless youth of India have with them.
This image takes a look at homelessness in a harsh and stereotypical way. The charity responsible for the posters urges the public to donate to them rather than to give to the homeless, conveying the typical stereotypes that society already has that the homeless spend their money on drugs and may kill them. The figure in the image is made up of coins illustrating the “kindness” of the public that “could kill”.
This poster illustrates two scenarios; one showing a typical home cooked meal while the second portrays where the youth of Vancouver find their food. It has been cleverly put side by side to convey that homeless or not, everyone is human and this could happen to anyone.
The artwork of the man projects a strong message that homeless people don’t want money but rather they want the public to do something about the issue and assist them in different ways. It shares a positive light as it illustrates that people want to see change, but then again its actually putting words into action which is difficult. The image serves as a reminder to think about social justice and not only to raise awareness about this issue but to also think of other ways to help the homeless besides giving them money.
Something that we all take for granted are the everyday things we use at home. In this case Crispin and Porter created these minimalist campaigns for Miami Rescue Mission to raise awareness about homelessness. By creating these simple campaigns it bluntly conveys the struggles homeless people have every day.
“The invisibles”. Ignored, avoided and neglected. UNICEF China’s campaign “Do not Ignore Me” portrays the harsh and often dismissed realities of the homeless youth on the streets of China. The images show two children camouflaged with their surroundings further expressing the term of being “invisible”. Often society walk past and ignore the homeless and it has been presented in a simple way with these images.
These images, captured from a very powerful video, illustrate that homelessness can happen to anyone. Rethink Homelessness worked on this project in Orlando and asked homeless people to write one surprising fact about them. Their aim was to humanise people who sleep in their cars, on the streets and in subways. Their answers, as shown in this image, proved to be powerful and was not expected.
The placement of the posters are placed specifically to convey where the homeless youth are situated everyday. The message behind the posters really make the audience take a second look and rethink how to help to the homeless. It also grabs the attention of people who walk by, leaving them with the guilty thoughts most of society tries to ignore.
This comic projects the constant neglect and avoidance society has towards homelessness. While the people of the public can be seen in high end brands, they continue to ignore and dehumanise homeless people.
The public took social media to project their perspectives about homeless people. This image explores the hatred and negative attitude towards the homeless. As part of a viral video created by a Canadian non-profit organisation Raising the Roof their aim was to change people’s attitudes towards the homeless, and get them to see that those who are dealing with extreme poverty are human beings too. This image shows the ‘ugly’ side society that the homeless community are constantly dealing with.
Focusing on the ‘How Early Intervention and Prevention Underpins the Victorian Response to Youth Homelessness’, Ian Gough, Consumer Services Manager, Council to Homeless Persons, discusses the increase of recognition of homelessness as a social problem in the 1970s to 2015.
During the 1970s through to 2002 he saw an increase in demand from homeless young people using night shelters or sleeping rough. These factors shaped the response to youth homelessness, with youth refugees becoming the key solution in Victoria and other states. Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) saw an increased focus on support and specific, tailored responses to young people experiencing homelessness and as a result programs were introduced. Towards 2002 the Victorian Homelessness Strategy (VHS), identified the need to develop and implement new services; an action plan with the aim of working towards a more “integrated holistic service response for young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness”.
The action plan from 2002 – 2015 created by Creating Connections, formally known as Youth Homelessness Action Plan 1), consisted of many programs to strengthen a young person’s connection to family and community, and to regain balance into their life. Many of the listed programs involve family reconciliation services; renting housing, job opportunities etc. But although these programs were introduced, the author failed to focus on any programs that would assist youths that are already experiencing mental hardship. As that is an important factor to also take into account, it plays a significant role into the youths thought process, which could affect the next step into their lives.
In his article, Sean A. Kidd, builds upon his previous research and examines “the mental health implications of social stigma as it is experienced by homeless youth”. Studies were conducted in New York and in Toronto surveying 208 youths who lived on the streets and in agencies. Surveys revealed “significant revealed significant associations between perceived stigma due to homeless status and sexual orientation, pan handling and sex trade involvement, and amount of time homeless”. Other perceived stigma also related to low self-esteem, feeling trapped, suicidal thoughts, loneliness and also guilt and self-blame due to their homeless status. Thus having a strong impact on their mental health.
Most homeless youth were reported:
To be troubled from disrupted and abusive home environments
Had a high rate of drug and alcohol use
Marital discord caused by domestic violence, household moves including changing of schools
Frequent reports on emotional abuse and neglect
Negative home experiences are associated with other problems, which include poor performance at school, conflict with teachers, and conduct problems. The factors mentioned above are understood to deviate from the ideals of the ‘social norm’. They have an effect of placing the individual outside of society’s definition of normal. By having such a disrupted childhood, it initiates a process of stigmatisation, which results with identifying and labelling individuals as different.
With the youth experiencing this early experiences of negativity it plays a role in their future which is likely to leave them more “vulnerable to negative experiences associated with social stigma on the streets”.
In order to survive street youth engage in different activities to support themselves. These include:
Looking for work
Seeking money from family and friends
Survival sex for food, shelter
He continues by explaining his hypothesis, methods, findings and conclusion. In each, he further investigates the problems that homeless youths are faced with with social stigma. Results show that homeless youths’ that experience stigma “play a major role in their mental health status and suicide risk level”. It is suggested that it is important for interventions to address social stigma and how it is perceived/ experienced by young people. It will assist to explore how these perceptions are affecting their mental health in order to find ways to protect themselves from any judgment or discrimination they may face while on the streets. Individuals can replace the feeling of guilt or shame into a positive thought process by understanding the various “factors underlying stigma and systemic discrimination”.
Mission Australia report finds one in seven young people at risk of homelessness written by Rachel Browne, a Social Affairs Reporter for Fairfax Media expresses her concern about vulnerable teenagers on the verge of being homeless in her article. One in 7 young people are at a risk of becoming homeless. To further the reader’s understanding Browne gathers information on the analysed data provided by Mission Australia in its annual survey. Results show that 13.5 percent of the 15-19 year olds faced with the threat of homelessness.
Continuing she mentions that young people who are homeless are more likely to suffer disrupted schooling, risky drug and alcohol use and mental illness. Mission Australia’s chief executive Catherine Yeomans, a participant in the article, describes the risks that the youth of Australia are facing. She focuses her concern with the federally funded services and support system that will that cut off in June of 2017. Browne continues to illustrate the issue of homelessness by interviewing young youth who have experienced being homeless and the constant struggles they are being faced with.
Elise Pianegonda, an online producer in the ABC’s Canberra newsroom, focuses on what it’s like to be homeless through the eyes of 23 year old Nathan Beer. After a month long experiment to raise awareness about homelessness and how easily it can happen, Nathan returns to his warm bed in Canberra.
Through the eyes of the homelessportrays a personal experience of the risks of being homeless. Among the many obvious issues of being homeless (no house, shortage of supplies, financial struggles etc) Nathan learned a harsh reality. The article discussed Nathan’s realisation that alcoholism is a product of their survival. The homeless drink to stay warm and numb the issues that they are faced with daily. Through this article it conveys the emotional strain of self worth that is displayed on the streets and their psychological state societies force them to be in. Society fails to recognise homeless people and view them as invisible. Although they can apply for housing through Centrelink, as mentioned, they don’t because of their psychological state.
With eight years in the political industry, state political reporter Ashleigh Raper reports about the concern for the homeless population regarding the new Opal card system. While the new system is “so much more convenient” disadvantaged homeless people will be left unable to travel due to the cancellation of paper tickets. The transition from paper to card has concerns proving to be difficult due to not having accessibility to the resources or literacy and computer skills needed.
The article further demonstrates that homeless people are left with to way to travel on public transport because they are transient and unless they are known to a centre to have their mail sent there it would be very difficult for them to go through the process to register for an opal card. Charities like Wollongong Homeless Hub and many others, used to provide single bus/train tickets to their clients but as the new systems come into play that will no longer be possible. The state Opposition Mr Walton mentions in the article that the transport of NSW have been working with charities to help out those people who don’t have a permanent home.
Smartphones are a lifeline for homeless people, by Rosie Spinks, explains the value of smartphones among the homeless community in order to connect with vital support and combat social exclusion.
While society views a smartphone as a luxury item to use at their leisure, the homeless community view it as a life tool. Spinks describes that they are dependent on this technology as a source for stability. It enables the community to reach out and have a constant connection with the services (support services, case workers and to look for jobs or housing) that aid them to progress through their day and their lives. It also serves as a getaway from being isolated and according to Hafsah FitzGibbon, partnerships and participation manager for youth homeless charity Centrepoint, “a way to create networks to combat social exclusion”.
“Smartphones are incomparable tools for connecting people who are isolated”
Rosie Spinks continues in her article by portraying that having mobile phones creates an easier way to connect and stay in touch with the homeless community which can be passed onto other organisations that can assist them getting off the street quicker.
Only a handful of business addressing the issue support the project of distributing mobile phones to the homeless people. Through this, mobile phones play the role of stabilising homeless people’s lives. But the community is faced with challenges like the maintenance of the phone and finding a place to charge it, or having enough space for necessary apps. Although the homeless community is faced with these challenges, project managers are trying to build a social network where homeless people can find support and a way to collect data on their experience of homelessness via self reporting.
Ninety-five per cent of people experiencing homelessness are “invisible” to the public. In order to raise awareness for the homeless community, Happn, a dating app, will give its users an insight into ‘invisible homelessness’. It explores the couch surfing, rough sleeps in cars, rooming houses and caravan parks. It gives the opportunity for Happn users to pass by a location where someone has been homeless and reveals the stories of real life people and the different ways homelessness exists. It urges people to take action and to put an end to homelessness.
Rebecca David, author of the article, continues to convey that there is no right image of homelessness. She further describes this as chief executive Jenny Smith of the Council to Homeless Persons states that “… homelessness can happen to anyone at any time regardless of their age, gender, or employment status.” Challenging stereotypes is one of the issues that the community is faced with. In the hopes to unite the community to solve the problem, Smith stresses that support from the Government to end homelessness and funding from the NPAH is “a critical piece of that” process.
Journal and media articles are a good way of pin pointing the current aspects of a chosen aspect of research that are most relevant to the “at the present” context. The following articles are a broad exploration of the different standpoints of homelessness within Australian Journalism. This small spectrum analysis will aim to begin to pinpoint issues presented within the articles themselves and hopefully, a broader understanding of the constructs and flow of information filters.
“They kick and punch us and spit on us when we’re asleep”: Inside the homeless ‘tent city’ where Australia’s downtrodden live amid squalor in the centre of a glittering metropolis.
Frank Coletta is the Author of ‘They kick and punch us and spit on us when we’re asleep’: Inside the homeless ‘tent city’ where Australia’s downtrodden live amid squalor in the centre of a glittering metropolis’ an article written for he Daily Mail Australia, a sub branch of the Daily Mail UK which is a tabloid Newspaper and online article based publication company.
It’s sister paper The Mail on Sunday. Mail Online is a division of DMG Media, part of Associated Newspapers Ltd. The company have had allegations against untrustworthy and false articles, but have since then tried to be rectify their bad reputation and only publishing thoroughly researched content.
The article appears to have been written to help raise awareness for Homelessness Prevention Week which capitalised on a trusted and well respected media and journalistic figure to help advocate awareness for the cause. Frank Coletta is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail and often (within written and video media) runs stories on social issues within society, however knowledgeable within the field, he is no expert as this issue is not his chosen filed of study or interest.
In fact, this is the first time Frank Coletta has written about this issue, he often writes more political based stories or headliner stories.
This article can be classed as a well researched editorial. Written from the perspective of Homelessness Australia (an organisation advocating on behalf of the homeless), this article co-insides with Homeless Prevention week and captures the views and beliefs of not only the organisation but homeless people of Sydney, who lend their stories to the article.
Coletta writes from the angle of Homeless Australia and Homeless residents in Sydney to break stigma and create a sense of empathy from the readers.
This article (like most) is not heavy, and only gives a brisk understanding of the tumultuous lives of the homeless and the serious issues faced nightly. Coletta attempts to draw out compassion so that the general perception of homeless people is not polarised by negative stigma explaining that the residents themselves are not safe despite the city council hiring guards for the protection of both the homeless residents and passers by within Belmore Park Sydney. Residents don’t own much, so Coletta attempts to capture the anguish of the residents who lose their tents and or belongings via theft or confiscation. Coletta, however balances this by detailing that some of the residents do have drug problems and mental problems, yet attempts to remove an personal stigma on an already heavily stigmatised topic. This authors position is comparatively balanced in the scale of the issue being researched. The author writes from the perspective of the homeless, however is able to balance the bias to include the motivations and opinions from members of the other side of the argument. This article is a small snapshot on just one of the issues of homelessness demonstrating its weight for in socially excluding practices in modern societies.
Housing policy is captive to property politics, so don’t expect politicians to tackle affordability.
Nicole Gurran and Peter Phibbs are the authors of ‘Housing policy is captive to property politics, so don’t expect politicians to tackle affordability’. Both, are Professor researches from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) linked with the University of Sydney generally writing for an online journal collective called “The Conversation” (journalism with academic rigour where most articles are written by University academics. With University support, both authors earn credibility through their rigorous and ethical research methods. Both authors are currently teaching and writing doctorates in this chosen field.
From extensive research, it appears that when both the authors tackle this topic it is often approached with the hopefulness that Government bodies will implement an affordable housing strategy to help ease the rapidly increasing stress of high housing prices and the impenetrability for low income earners into this market. The intention is akin to that of a proposal, particularly written in response to the use of ‘policy capture’ by the ever determined government to void properly examining the issue.
Nicole Gurran has written many articles that explore affordable housing, social housing (the main topic of interest) and about the Governments policy and policy makers and their implementation or more worryingly lack of implementation of effective strategy to reduce current social problems. It appears the Peter Phibbs has collaborated on some of the more recent articles that Nicole had published within the site. Both are very directionally against the Lack of Government intervention within the property market and both have analysed the effectiveness of social housing within other Countries and policies to create affordable housing such as done (ironically) in China.
This article is a rigorously well researched, passionate article with plenty of anti government bias geared at attacking the current Governments stance on the issue at hand attempting to discredit policy makers and suggest alternative or from their belief ore effective methods to bridging the gap between housing inequality.
Gurran and Phibbs explain the notion of policy capture and there is a heavy use of the word “avoiding” “…to understand why politicians and governments appear determined to avoid seemingly obvious solutions to housing problems”. The authors attempt to convince the reader through extensive research e.g. “to demonstrate that they have a seriously strong (and worrying) argument.” There is a strong essence that the authors are highlighting that policy makers and investors are hiding behind a charade and not working for the greater good of the society. This sentiment is common, with many authors criticising political and investment bodies for only thinking about their financial needs rather than the needs of the marginalised. As directional as this opinion is, the sentiment is shared amongst most authors writing about this issue who place high stress on the greed of investors and the lack of policy implementation and refinement to control the situation.
Mission Australia report finds one in seven young people at risk of homelessness.
The author is this article is Rachel Browne who is a Social Affairs Reporter for Fairfax Media linked with Sydney Morning Herald. She has an extensive article portfolio and not only writes for Sydney morning Herald, but for The Age, Vice Magazine and various other publications.
Browne may have been motivated to write the article as a pre-emptive reaction to a National report that was due to be released a week after this particular article was published. With an impressive amount of articles under her belt, this article reads as if Browne is an expert in (at the very least), the various social issues within Australia’s contemporary Urban scene, writing numerous articles about domestic abuse which is one of the key contributors to homelessness within Sydney.
Browne has written about domestic violence and abuse several times, delineating facts and figures in the hopes of raising awareness and breaking misconceptions. Touching on violence as one of the factors for youth Homelessness, this is Browne’s first attempt to communicate the gravity of the potential of youth homelessness within Sydney and its devastating impacts. The article is a factual based editorial that combines findings from the Mission Australia report as well as primary research from a member of the subject matter being examined. The article is representative of the findings and passions of mission Australia, however the Author is attempting to create a positive, hopeful tone, to inspire change from the findings that are listed within the report thus the article has Mission Australia and humanitarian bias.
The author believes that young people are at more risk of entrenching themselves in homelessness, if they become homeless at a young age. She believes that (with research done with the Mission Australia report) that if young people are homeless early, this can disrupt their schooling which can entrench them within a bad position, “…with a leading welfare group calling on all governments to increase support for vulnerable teenagers before they spiral into entrenched homelessness.”. By identifying the risk factors, this issue can be stopped before it even starts isn the authors main message. From the report and Browne’s stance, the idea that there needs to be more services to help domestic violence and issues occurring within the home to help combat this problem,“… Ms. Yeomans said the report highlighted the need for improved early intervention services to support young people and their families.” Many authors share the same view, that policies need to be put in place to be preemptive to the issues at hand, whether it is housing afford ability or domestic violence or marginalisation, most authors already write with a convincing amount of data. Some authors have even pinpointed that certain groups of youth are even more susceptible than others such as the ones that are gender insecure, curious or experimental.
These brilliant individuals are tackling everyday issues faced by homeless folk.
Lisa Cugnetto a Freelance writer and content Producer, wrote the article “These brilliant individuals are tackling everyday issues faced by homeless folk.“ published on SBS. The article is a small explanation of six initiatives that charities and Non Government Organisations have started to try and help the homeless. Cugnetto initially wrote most of her articles on wordpress, however her writing has gained traction within larger professional bodies such as the SBS which feature her “social good” articles regularly.
It is unclear to what exactly motivated Cugnetto to write this article, however it appears that the article is a positive demonstration of the goodwill of small businesses and individuals towards the isle of homelessness which may be a response to the Governments lack of initiative. All her articles on this topic have been featured on SBS because of the unique angle explored, one which many authors don’t explore. Within this context, the author is not an expert however demonstrates expert knowledge and research skills in her compilation of information.
Cugnetto has written one other article that is along the same wavelength as this example. It examines at a charity group that give homeless woman sanitary products and health care supplies to try and lighten the mood and uplift their spirits. Cugnetto focuses her writing on social activist groups, charities and the goodwill of private organisations, often only writing from a positive angle, deliniating undertones of hope.
The article can be described as a factual editorial. Comprising of short snippets on each of the organisations, the author explains some of the key services currently available for the homeless, started by people who were I totally homeless or people who are severely moved by the issue.
Cugnetto takes a hopeful stance within this article. Her goal, to explore “…six initiatives that are taking a unique approach to helping those sleeping rough or at risk.”. Many authors of articles that talk about homelessness and social exclusion attempt to create empathetic resonance and thus, change by decisively making the reader aware of failure in politic, politicians and their policies and society by creating a sense of urgency through the use of well researched statistics. Cugnetto on the other had takes the second most common approach. Attempting to engender a sense of hope, a common theme found in writers discussing this issue, articles such as this may then be used to assist these charities and independent organisations through crowd funded hopefulness. Cugnetto not only explains what the organisations are, but the (often) inspired history. For example, she explains that The Streets Barber is giving back to the community after overcoming a drug addiction. Cugnetto has a marginal position, it has only become a recent trend to use writing to support crowd funding campaigns brought about from the perpetual lack of government intervention, most writers writing in this niche field, focus on the stories of the homeless, rarely the small organisations supporting them.
Cugnetto , L. 16 FEB 2016 – 9:19 AM, ‘These brilliant individuals are tackling everyday issues faced by homeless folk’, SBS, viewed July, <http://www.sbs.com
Push to support homeless LGBTI youth after influx at crisis accommodation centres.
The author of this article is David Lewis,a journalist working with the investigative radio documentary program Background Briefing on RN who commonly writes for ABC news. Lewis has covered many exclusive articles on niche topics. However well informed,this article is, as a journalist, Lewis is not an expert sourcing his factual based writing from provided data from expert researchers.
Lewis (not having written about this issue before) was motivated to write this article because of a lack of recognition of LGBTI as a serious cause and categorisation for the soaring number in homeless youth and the fragile nature in which these sorts of statistics are recorded as certain labels are damaging. Written as an introduction to an ABC Background Briefing, there is an understanding of an internal review that will consider widening the scope of the information provided to the database, known as the Specialist Homelessness Services collection.
This editorial contains the bias of Professor Susan Oakley from the University of Adelaide who passionately argues that “We need to have a better understanding of who is presenting to begin with, before we can start to to think about how we can tailor our support services,”. Included is also the bias’s of members of that particular community. An opinion from member of parliament Alex Greenwich is incorporated as well as the opinion of someone directly correlated with the group in discussion.
The article suggests how the data collected from support services is a treasure trove for policy makers if the initiatives are taken to use them for causal change especailly in a sensitive manner. However there is slight resistance from members of parliament such as Alex Greenwich who believe that this needs to be done in a sensitive way, as this group of people are in an anxious place and would optimally “come out” confident. Lewis, is the facilitator of this conversation, exploring the issue from several angles. His writing is confident in the fact there is a serious problem not categorising LGBTI youth however the author understands the complexities of label slapping. Lewis’s flexible point of view links well with other articles that explore the tentative nature of youth homelessness. Many authors write in a weary tone because of the entrenching nature of this issue especially with the increasing statistics from support services and Census data collections. As this is a rising issue of concern, Lewis’s stance is becoming more and more common as even policy makers are becoming weary of the growing issue and the socially exclusive issues around its resolution.
After reading the following articles it has become clear that the topic of homelessness has a broad reach within the discourse of journalism and media. The most interesting finding from this aspect of research is that the topic of homelessness is in some respect, an unfavourable topic of discussion. The sizes of the articles, the general topic of the articles as well as the identity of the authors of these articles suggest that professional researches aren’t contributing to the cotinual casual discourse of this issue. This is indicative that socially, there is a lack of interest and thus, understanding and empathy of the greater concepts being proposed in weakened by the overlapping impact of event activism, which as a promotional device, is kept short and sweet making it difficult to fully connect to an audience that is generally non-the wiser of the issue at hand, creating apathy.
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