90-95 percent of those sleeping rough are male.
The great majority of those sleeping rough are men.
An estimated 70% of all homeless are men and boys. (Census 2011)
This is a gender issue.
If it were the other way around and it was 90% women who were sleeping on the streets...?
The truth is: it could never be the other way around. Our society simply would not allow it to occur.
This is an equality issue.
In response to a phenomenon which is unarguably a gender and equality issue, the presentation of homelessness is only ever framed as being of ‘gender concern’ when the gender is female.
THE SILENCE IN ACTON
- Peter McVerry Trust facts and figures
A glance at the facts and figures page of the commendable homeless charity, Peter McVerry Trust website reveals, quite astonishingly, that the gender of the homeless is indicated - only if the gender is female. Although representing the overriding majority of the homeless, men and boys are ‘disappeared’ (as regularly occurs in all our media) into numeric totals and linguistic generalities. They are referred to only as: ‘number of people’; ‘individuals’; ‘the homeless’; ‘people’; ‘the number of homeless’; ‘new presentations’. The minority of female homeless, however, are actively singled out and deliberately drawn attention to:
2 – Average number of individuals exiting homelessness in Dublin per day. (2013)
5 – Average number of new presentations of homelessness in Dublin per day. (2014)
30% – Women now account for just over 30% of Ireland’s homeless population. No mention that it is 70% who are male and until recently has been significantly higher.
139 – Number of people recorded as sleeping rough in Dublin on November (Winter Rough Sleeper Count 2013) Silence regarding the fact that, at least, 85% of this number is male.
307 – Girls aged 19 or under recorded as homeless in the 2011 census. The number of boys is not mentioned. Their plight presumably not considered as worthy of note.
3,808 – The number of homeless in Ireland recorded in census 2011.
5,000 – It is now estimated that there are over 5,000 homeless people in Ireland.
- The Simon Community Website
‘The Dublin Region Homeless Executive Rough Sleeper Count Official figures released by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive found 105 counted sleeping rough, plus 46 attending Merchants Quay Ireland’s Nite Cafe, totals 151 people needing emergency accommodation.
Again the fact that this figure is predominantly male is not mentioned.
If the figures predominantly represented women, would outraged and concerned attention not have been drawn to the existence of such a shocking reality in our modern, caring democracy?
And amongst the Simon Community’s completed reports, their submissions to various bodies etc., listed on their website, there is a research paper entitled, ‘Women’s ‘Journeys’ to Homelessness: Key Findings from a Biographical Study of Homeless Women in Ireland’ by Paula Mayock and Sarah Sheridan (2012). There is no equivalent study or report on those who, by far, most represent our country’s homeless.
THE SILENCE IS WORLDWIDE
Tom Golden (Maryland Commission for Men’s Health; author of: Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing) has worked with traumatised men in the U.S. for over 25 years.
He writes: "No one wants to focus on the pain of men. People just don’t want to see it.
Search the web for facts on homelessness and you will be hard pressed to find organizations who support the homeless making a big deal over the fact that most of their clients are male.
Groups who try to help the homeless are probably very aware that if they advertise their client base to be male they are much less likely to receive donations and funding. This is probably why you see the emphasis on homeless families even though they are a minority of the homeless."