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Aldous, Jules --- "Legal Studies" [2003] AltLawJl 36; (2003) 28(3) Alternative Law Journal 131


Homelessness and the law

Read the article 'From "cause" to "solution": using the law to respond to homelessness' (p.127). Working in groups of three or four, consider the following questions:

1. The article suggests that homelessness is one of 'the most serious socio-economic issues confronting Australia'. Consider the issues raised for the Australian community by homelessness. Share your ideas with the whole class and list the issues raised by each group on the board.

2. The article suggests that there are five 'pathways' into homelessness:

• structural causes

• government fiscal and social policy causes

• cultural causes

• individual causes

• law as a cause.

For each of these causes, list the different ways in which each aspect may result in homelessness.

3. The article suggested that homelessness arises from the arbitrary or selective enforcement of laws.

• What do the terms arbitrary and selective mean?

• Can you think of any other situations in which the law may be enforced in an arbitrary or selective manner? Explain.

4. Undertake research to find out about the legal and com­ munity services available to people who are homeless. Design a media campaign to inform homeless people about their rights. Consider the following:

• what media would you use and why?

• what information about legal rights do you think you need to include?

• provide examples of the information you would provide.

5. Read the article 'Rights versus welfare' (p.132). What do you consider to be the human rights of people who are homeless? Design a declaration of human rights for the homeless.

Jules Aldous

Jules Aldous teaches legal studies at Shelford Girls' Grammar School in Melbourne.

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