|M.Sc Student||Goldstein Sarit|
|Subject||The Meaning of Home and Homelessness for Homeless|
People in Israel who are not Street Dwellers
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Emeritus Arza Churchman|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
The word "home" is associated with a combination of emotional, existential and cultural meanings. "Home" represents a variety of meaningful relations between the inhabitants and their place of residence. In the existing literature, the concept of home and the meanings of home extend through a broad spectrum of human needs, starting with physical needs and ending with the need for self-expression.
The main subject of this research was the examination of the meanings of home and homelessness for Israelis who are administratively considered without homes, but are not street dwellers. The study was performed using a qualitative-constructivist method of personal interviews. Analysis of the answers obtained from the interviewees enables examination of the question whether people lacking a home, or living in inadequate places, are people without roots, confidence, stability and social status, or whether these advantages can be achieved even without having a home. I interviewed 29 people concerning the conditions of their dwelling place, their general feelings concerning "home" and “homelessness” and their attitude toward being homeless themselves. Homeless people are worried about two major problems: poverty and the lack of ontological security, which is a combination of instability and lack of confidence in their ability to cope with future problems. The problems raised by the homeless can be divided into two categories : physically related problems and emotional problems. Poverty, bad dwelling conditions and the lack of privacy are physically related problems, while instability, a sense of temporariness, lack of confidence in the future, lacking peace of mind, a sense of incompetence and a sense of lack of dignity are emotional problems. The former difficulties lead to emotional problems and the emotional problems as a whole are the main concern of the homeless.
From the research it can be concluded that, for these homeless, the strongest feeling connected to the concept of home is the feeling of security and stability. Their present dwelling location is not a home for them, because it answers only some of the basic needs and none of their emotional needs. All the participants of this research made a clear distinction between what they lacked - a home which should provide ontological security and warmth, and what they had - a dwelling.