The “homelessness crisis”, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney, has attracted renewed attention in recent months. While there are higher rates of unemployment for people who are homeless, many are working and homeless.
For the past two decades, the growing numbers of Big Issue sellers on city streets across Australia have perhaps been the most visible and public of the “working homeless”.
While The Big Issue is based on the idea of “a hand up, not a hand out”, little research has been carried out on its impact and sellers’ experiences. My research findings reveals the long-lasting effects of inequality and poverty and the impact of precarious employment and working conditions.
There is a need for more co-ordinated and comprehensive policy responses to – and resources for – homelessness, entrenched disadvantaged and long-term unemployment.
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