Homelessness is the condition of people without homes, and people without homes are called as homeless people. This is the simple definition of homelessness, but according to the United Nations, people who are living in slum dwellings are also considered as homeless people.
Homelessness in Pakistan
According to the report of United Nations, 20 million people are homeless in Pakistan. This can be attributed to the people who have no access to housing or living in the slum dwellings. Similarly, people who are living in the areas effected by natural disasters (without proper housing) are also homeless people.
Causes of homelessness in Pakistan
Inflation is the first major cause of homelessness in Pakistan. In the last decade, prices of homes have increased by 10 times, but wages have not increased with the same ratio. This has resulted in high level of poverty in Pakistan and homelessness is on the rise.
Unemployment is also a major cause of homelessness in Pakistan. Due to political instability and lack of foreign direct investment, unemployment is wide spread in Pakistan. Rural areas are more effected by unemployment. Due to this homelessness is increasing day by day in Pakistan.
In the last decade, Pakistan has faced different disasters in the form of earth quakes and floods. Many people have been displaced due to these disasters. Hundred thousands of homes were destroyed by the earth quake in 2005. Every year floods destroy thousands of homes. Due to natural disasters, homelessness is also rising in Pakistan.
Wars against terrorism:
Pakistan is in the condition of constant war against terrorism. Many people have left their homes due to instability in the regions. Also, many homes have been destroyed in these wars. Pakistan has problems in rehabilitation of the Internally Displaced People (IDPS). So terrorism is also a cause of homelessness in Pakistan.
Affordable homes are not available:
In Pakistan affordable homes are not available. There are few examples of affordable housings in Pakistan, but on very small scale. General public couldn’t benefit it. Lack of affordable homes is one of the reasons of homeless in Pakistan, as poor people cannot buy homes in the open market.
High population growth:
Pakistan population is increasing very fast. Current population of Pakistan is approximately 200 million. We are adding 3 million people every year. Pakistan needs 1 million new homes to solve housing shortage in Pakistan, but we are building just 200000 new homes every year. This shortage of housing, due to the fast growth of population, is also a reason of homelessness in Pakistan.
Homelessness in Pakistan can be controlled by:
1) controlling inflation
2) controlling high growth rate of population
3) creating good paying jobs
4) building affordable homes
5) providing housing benefits to the people who cannot afford rents
6) rehabilitating the people affected by natural disasters and wars
Unless we start prompt actions to provide housing assistance to homeless people, homelessness in Pakistan will keep on rising. Which clearly indicates that future of our generations is dark.