Anti-social behaviour among homeless people: Assumptions or reality?

Jamie Harding, Adele Irving

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Historically, the visible engagement of homeless people in activities considered to be ‘anti-social’, such as drunkenness and begging, have made them the target of government action on public disorder, engendering antipathy, as much as sympathy, from policy makers, key regulators and the wider public (Takahashi, 1997, cited in DeVerteuil et al., 2009: 647). Governments have long been keen to blame increases in homelessness on individual failings, resulting from wilful idleness and dangerous criminal/anti-social tendencies (Humphreys, 1999: 167), with policy responses underpinned by the principles of enforcement and exclusion, rather than care and support. During the period 1997 to 2010, the New Labour governments demonstrated a more nuanced understanding of the causes of homelessness, giving increased recognition to the importance of factors beyond the control of the individual. At the heart of government policies towards homelessness was the idea of balancing rights with responsibilities. However, even under this more ostensibly sympathetic approach, concerns to tackle social exclusion among homeless people existed in tension with a perception that their antisocial behaviours needed to be addressed. Following a historical discussion of the key interventions designed to tackle wilful idleness and anti-social behaviour among homeless people, this chapter will focus on policy developments since 1997.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnti-Social Behaviour in Britain
Subtitle of host publicationVictorian and Contemporary Perspectives
EditorsSarah Pickard
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781137399311
ISBN (Print)9781137399304
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Anti-social behaviour among homeless people: Assumptions or reality?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this