Homelessness is the condition of people without a permanent dwelling, such as a house or apartment. People who are homeless are most often unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure and adequate housing. The legal definition of homeless varies from country to country, or among different jurisdictions in the same country or region.
The term homeless may also include people whose primary night-time residence is in a homeless shelter, a domestic violence shelter, long-term residence in a motel, a vehicle, squatting, cardboard boxes, a tent city, tarpaulins, shanty town structures made of discarded building materials or other ad hoc housing situations.
According to the UK homelessness charity Crisis, a home is not just a physical space: it also provides roots, identity, security, a sense of belonging and a place of emotional wellbeing. American government homeless enumeration studies also include people who sleep in a public or private place not designed for use as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. There are a number of organizations who provide help for the homeless.
In 2005, an estimated 100 million (1 in 65) people worldwide were homeless, and as many as 1 billion people live as squatters, refugees or in temporary shelter, all lacking adequate housing. In Western countries, the large majority of homeless are men (75–80%), with single males particularly overrepresented.