How can we nuance our understanding of homelessness?

IIHS
1 March 2017

Homelessness is generally described as an absence of a physical dwelling. However, homelessness triggers many social and economic factors that, together, perpetuate patterns of vulnerability amongst the urban homeless. This case is an anthology of three long-form narratives that relate the complexity of vulnerability and deprivation in the lives of the homeless in the streets of Delhi. Through action research, photo-journalism, and ethnography, the case explores the trajectory of vulnerability through the lens of violence, health, psychological impacts, social bonds, and access to housing. The case narrates the realities of homelessness in Delhi as well as their official and informal responses. By presenting an integrated perspective of the drivers of homelessness and the complex nature of vulnerability and deprivation, this case allows learners to consider alterative indicators when thinking about social safety nets and reimagine how to design basic services in the city.