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Distributed for Karolinum Press, Charles University

Homelessness among Young People in Prague

The chronically homeless face a stark reality: lack of access to support systems, adequate shelter, and sustenance, with little hope for something better. For young people, however, life on the street may be merely a temporary stage in their lives. This book tells of homelessness among young people—the causes and their attitudes to the various problems they face.
Young homeless people describe a life in which they lose their privacy, the possibility to satisfy their basic needs, and, often, their self-respect in order to survive. The latter half of the book considers what happens when these young people return to society and how they navigate difficulties as they attempt to leave their past behind. Often, the struggle is not solely one of coping with the stigma of their experience; rather, they must face the legacies that linger long after their lives have turned a corner: drug addiction, criminal records, and accumulated debt.
Based on interviews with homeless people in Prague, Homelessness as an Alternative Existence of Young People paints an authentic picture of this social group and documents the often unseen social consequences of the transformation to capitalism from communism.

226 pages | 27 line drawings, 2 maps, 79 charts | 6 3/4 x 9 1/2

Sociology: Social Organization--Stratification, Mobility

Table of Contents

Foreword to the English edition

1. The life stories of young homeless people
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Research objectives and methods and a description of the group under examination
1.3 The life stories of young homeless people

2. The childhood and emerging adulthood of young homeless people
2.1 Family - the opinions of young homeless people regarding their home life and their childhood
2.1.1 The problems of alcoholic, violent, or mentally ill parents
2.1.2 The relationship of young homeless people to their parents
2.1.3 Problems arising as a consequence of the breakup of the original family
2.1.4 A home where the clients felt unwanted
2.1.5 Grandparents as a substitute source of security and safety
2.1.6 Foster parents or institutions
2.2 School - the opinions of young homeless people regarding their scholastic success
2.2.1 The behavioural problems of young homeless people at school age and during adolescence
2.3 Contemporaries - relationships with peers during childhood and adolescence
2.4 Summary of the childhood and adolescence of young homeless people

3. The beginnings of homelessness
3.1 The decision to sleep rough and its cause
3.1.1 Drug and alcohol addiction
3.1.2 Inability and unwillingness to work systematically
3.1.3 Inability to manage finances and indebtedness
3.1.4 Inexperience and an inability to organise life
3.1.5 Criminal activities
3.1.6 The influence of a problematic partner
3.2 Life on the street
3.2.1 Obtaining means of support
3.2.2 Accommodation and sleeping rough
3.2.3 Life on the street has its negative points
3.2.4 Positive aspects to life on the street
3.2.5 Change of values and norms
3.3 Relationships with people on the street
3.3.1 Interpersonal relationships within the framework of the homeless community
3.3.2 The opinions of homeless youth regarding friendship and partnerships
3.4 Relationships with people outside the homeless community
3.5 Young homeless people and parenthood
3.6 The mental health of young homeless people
3.6.1 Mental health disorders and young homeless people
3.6.2 The use of addictive substances among young homeless people
3.7 Leaving home to sleep rough - a summary

4. The opinion young homeless people have of themselves and their transformation
4.1 The personality of young homeless people
4.1.1 How young homeless people evaluate their own personality
4.1.2 A tendency to aggressive behaviour
4.1.3 The needs, fears and wishes of young homeless people
4.2 The transformation that takes place as a consequence of life on the street
4.2.1 Young homeless people’s opinion of their own transformation
4.3 Summary of how young homeless people perceive themselves and rate their transformation

5. How young homeless people visualise their future
5.1 The requirements and barriers to returning to mainstream society -the opinion of young homeless people
5.2 Change to the social standing of young homeless people after two years
5.3 A summary of what young people think of their future and a possible return to society


Subject Index
Name Index

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