Homelessness means having nowhere to live and a runaway is someone who has run away from home or is seriously thinking about running away.
Some of the main reasons a young perosn might want to run away could be:
- arguments with the family
- violence in the family
- physical or sexual abuse
- problems at school
- cultural reasons (for example, being forced to marry)
- running away from care
- being in a stressful situation, like after the death of someone the youth loved
- problems with drugs or alcohol.
What do you think may be the reasons why young people in Italy leave their homes? Try to find out.
If you have a problem at home, with your family, who can you resort to? Are there institutions you can ask for help? Who could you call? Are there webpages you could browse to look for useful advice and information?
What are the prejudices towards homeless people? What are the stereotypes people have of them? Read the following article and see what young homeless people think.
I came across this British website and I found it really interesting, well designed, to the point, easy to understand and packed with useful advice. What do you think about it?
What is your mental image of a young homeless person? Are there prejudices in your country towards homeless people? Are they harassed in any way? Are they protected or helped by The System?
Read what 19-year-old London-based Tania thinks.
Here is the account of another young man who found a family at Centrepoint. He was kicked out by his family because he …. How sad! We should be loved the way we are, but this seems to be difficult for lots of adults, even for those who gave life to thee and state that was done out of love.
STONE COLD by Robert Windells
Stone Cold is a realistic novel by Robert Swindells set on the streets of London. The first-person narrative switches between Link, a homeless sixteen-year-old, and Shelter, an ex-army officer.A young homeless boy, using the name of Link, recounts how he became homeless after his dad had left him and his mother. Subsequently, Link’s mother began seeing Vince, a largely abusive man with a grudge against Link and his sister, Carole. After an argument, Carole moves out to live with her boyfriend. Due to the tension at home, Link performs badly at school and sets his mind on leaving home like his sister. Link, however, has nowhere else to go, and is forced onto the streets. He decides to travel to London instead, with £150 of savings and a sleeping bag on his back. (If you want to know more about the story, click on the hot link below. Mind you, you will read info that may spoil the reading of the novel itself. It is up to you!)
If you want to learn some more about the writer, the following websites may prove to be of help
Do you think the novel portrays in a believable way the life of a homeless young man? Did you feel sympathy for Link’s lot? While reading the novel did you ask yourself what you would have done in his situation? If you “immesirmarti” with the character, what are the techniques that the writer used to reach this objective? Why do you think the protagonist’s nickname is “Link”?
Look at what the UK government does for homeless young people.
It would be interesting to know what the Italian government does for them and how many young people are estimated to live in the streets in Italy.
Watch the BBC adaptation of Stone Cold. What do you think of it? Do you find it interesting? What would you change? Do you think young people are interested in the issue of homeless teenagers? Why (not)?
Read and listen to what rapper Speech Debelle says about her experience of homelessness
Homeless people are already victims of different forms of violence and abuse. Why do you think are there people that do violence to them?
Read a newspaper article taken from the bbc website to understand the extent of violence against homeless people. What is the situation like in Italy? Are there cases of violence against street people that hit the news? What does this headline, from an American important newspaper make you think of?
Violence against the homeless. Is it a hate crime?
You can investigate the issue by reading the article itself: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1852825,00.html
Look at the poem that a USA teen, Krista E (Westford, MA) wrote dedicated to homeless people. What could your poem be like?
My home can be
My daily meals
of anything or
are the clothes
I am a being.
I am human.
I am homeless.
If only people
where I stand
Will this loneliness
Will I begin
I am a person.
I am alive.
I am homeless.
A Homeless Man
When compared to mine his dreams are very humble he does not seek much out of life at all
A small flat he could call his home to live in compared to most his wishes seem quite small
At sixty seven years he’s on the street and homeless a Winter dawn is breaking cold and gray
With long gray beard and looking thin and shabby he walks uptown as he does every day.
Some may say at his age he should not be homeless that life’s many chances he left them go by
But they don’t know him or his circumstances he is a person just like you and I
So many of us lacking in compassion beyond our own selves we can’t seem to see
We applaud the wealthy see them as successful and condemn all of those in poverty.
Where did he sleep last night? the thought just chills me
perhaps on park bench in the park nearby
I feel so lucky I’ve a warm home to go to and a comfortable bed on which to lie
Save for circumstance his lot in life might have been my lot
his life story must be one of living hell
But who knows if there is a life hereafter his soul may go to live where angels dwell.
A wintery dawn above the city breaking and the nip of winter in the morning air
And a homeless man uptown is slowly walking a gray bearded man with long gray straggly hair
There’s many more like him around this city people like him nowadays no longer rare
And when compared to him I feel I have been lucky and by circumstance I have been treated fair.
If you are in slam poetry, you can see that there are poets inspired by homelessness and take the issue at heart.
What message would you write on your piece of cardboard?