Understanding Homelessness

 Homelessness and the complex needs of the people experiencing it, represent the most extreme expression of the processes of social exclusion. In AIRES we know that it comes to show the failure of a social model that increasingly tends toward inequality in access to basic goods, which favors individualism and isolation and weakens social support networks and solidarity.


  • Not having a home involves many situations that most people take for granted in our lives. It means having no privacy, no rest, the absence of a place to socialize with your family and friends, having to travel half the city loaded to take a shower ...
  • Like any other person, this creates sense of isolation, insecurity, emotional instability ... and the feeling of not belonging to the world around us. Furthermore, most people sleeping rough spend much of their time alone.
  • Socially invisible, people suffering from this situation also suffer a clear violation of their most basic rights such as the right to housing, personal security, equality or social participation.
  • The harshness of life on the street can not be imagined if not experienced; it is important to point out that life expectancy of people in this situation is about 30 years younger than the rest of the population, and the mortality rate between 3 and 4 times higher.


  • There is now a considerable increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness. The data show that the whole of the population living in homeless increasingly shows more similar to the average for the whole population demographics. That is, more people traditionally located in areas of inclusion are currently sleeping on the streets of our cities.
  • Another clear trend is the greater chronicity of homelessness situations. Fewer and fewer people leave the situation of homelessness.
  • Continued increase in aggression and crimes against the homeless, especially to youth and women.
  • Although traditionally it is a phenomenon that has affected mostly men (in a ratio of about 80% of men vs. 20% women), the trend is that the number of women is growing. The degree of deterioration of women who come to this situation is usually very large and also have to face added problems; double discrimination, increased violence against them, masculinization of care resources, etc. It is also continuously increasing the number of young and elderly.


  • The solutions traditionally implemented in homelessness care have been based on the provisional accommodation. Far from achieving social inclusion, but largely institutionalization and dependence, they have collaborated to make homelessness become chronic, rather than eradicating it.
  • We believe this is due largely to a model which protects the person and encourages their submission to "experts" who are professionals who lead their lives.
  • AIRES aims for a professional intervention to move the focus; we have to look at the person and focus our attention on their goals, their desires, their strengths, their vital moment ... and not just their problem.
  • From this starting point, we design a professional practice to support unconditionally every person, without coercion of any kind.
  • To achieve it we believe in supporting the choice of own goals and personal responsibility, to work with the individual, "doing with" rather than "doing for", to take risks together and that, ultimately, is the person to take their own decisions.