Three factors made homelessness a more visible feature of British society and culture in the 1990s. First, as a result of economic recession, family breakdown and poverty, increasing numbers of young people were found living on the streets of major cities for the first time. Second, under the Conservatives’ ‘Care in the Community’ programme, people released from mental institutions ended up on the streets. Third, John Bird founded the magazine The Big Issue (based on a similar idea in New York), which is sold by homeless people who keep 60 percent of the proceeds. This brought homelessness into national focus. The Labour Party set up a Social Exclusion Unit, and in 1998 proposed that homeless people should be forced to accept places in hostels.
   See also: poverty, families and

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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