Why shouldn't I be poor and homeless

What is the difference between poverty, homelessness and homelessness?

The terms homelessness, homelessness or poverty are often lumped together. But there is a difference between being poor, homeless and homeless. But what does what mean? Here we show you what the differences between these three situations actually are and in which points they are related.


People all over the world suffer from poverty. It is divided into three categories:

  • Absolute poverty: People who have to live on an income of US $ 1.9 per day. It affects 1.2 billion people worldwide.
  • Relative poverty: This category best describes the poverty in the society in which we live in Germany. There is hardly any absolute poverty here, but there are strong financial differences between the upper and lower classes. People who earn less than 50% of the average income of the citizens of their country are considered to be relatively poor.
  • Felt poverty: One speaks here of “socio-cultural poverty”. It is not about the financial situation, but about social exclusion and discrimination.

Poverty can quickly lead to homelessness. Poverty often causes homelessness.


People who do not have their own rental agreement are referred to as homeless. Most of the time they live in facilities where they can live for a limited period of time. Or they can stay with friends or family at short notice.

There are many reasons for this situation. For example, rent arrears, termination of the rental contract without notice or evictions lead to the spontaneous loss of your own home. But personal strokes of fate, mental and physical illnesses or an addiction also play an important role.

Once homelessness has occurred, despite government aid it can happen that people slide into homelessness.


Homelessness is only one part of homelessness. Homeless people, like homeless people, do not have a fixed rental contract. In contrast to these, however, they mostly live on the street. The most common reasons for slipping into homelessness include 51% long-term unemployment, 48% alcohol dependence and 44% over-indebtedness (rent debts).

The living conditions on the street are usually bad and can hardly meet a person's basic needs. The lack of access to water or toilets is particularly problematic. In addition, there is an enormous lack of prospects associated with the situation. This often brings homeless people into contact with drugs. In addition, aggression towards oneself and others as well as a deep feeling of loneliness can arise. Isolation also plays a major role here. This often develops from a lack of a social network and prejudices against those affected. Single-handedly, homeless people are then exposed to the conditions of life on the street - it is unsafe. Assault or theft can even occur in (emergency) accommodation.

The vicious circle

Based on the individual situations, it can be seen that these represent several stages and can turn into a downward spiral in poor conditions. But why is it so difficult to break out of it and leave it again?

When it comes to this question, those affected often speak of a vicious circle that holds them captive. Sometimes there is a lack of suitable offers of help, there are bureaucratic hurdles in organizations or personal circumstances cannot be overcome - addiction, for example, plays a major role here.

A particularly serious problem is that it is often hardly possible to find an apartment without a permanent job. However, a place of residence is usually a prerequisite for a job. For those affected, this then represents a dilemma that can hardly be resolved.

But how can I get involved?

There are many ways to support people in poverty or even homelessness. One of them is, for example, getting involved in a project. On our engagement platform GoVolunteer.com you will find a suitable engagement in more than 160 partner projects in the field of “Poverty & Homelessness”. If you would like to help, please stop by there!

Find your engagement now