Ageing on the Street : Trajectories of Older Homeless People in Relation to Social and Health Care Institutions


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Year of publication 2021
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Description The increasing number of older homeless people in developed countries worldwide is a prevalent issue linked to demographic and socio-political changes. In this paper, I introduce the findings of a case study describing and analysing trajectories of interactions among older homeless people and social and health care institutions in the city of Brno in the Czech Republic. Through institutional ethnography and semi-structured interviews conducted in 2019–2020 with social and health care workers, the study shows stigmatisation and marginalisation of older homeless people in institutional discourse and practices based on the age, gender, and living environment. The study examines the network of services for homeless people, possible gaps and barriers of service-client relations, impacting factors, and formal and informal strategies of overcoming these barriers in practice. I present several institutional issues concerning service-client relations and their impact on older homeless people's living conditions in the Czech Republic. Firstly, I argue that problematic categorisation of clients in institutions according to their socio-cultural environment or age leads to further marginalisation in access to care and housing. Furthermore, the categorisation methods in institutions form and propagate the stereotypical image of "classical homeless person" as an overall representation of the older homeless population. This paper points out how these conditions, along with insufficient social and health care services, pull older homeless people's trajectories into loops of exclusion, letting them circle from one social housing service to another.
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