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YARNLADY's avatar

Is living with relatives the same thing as "homeless"?

Asked by YARNLADY (44437points) March 22nd, 2017

Two elderly relatives are living in my son’s house, and they call themselves homeless. All their belongings are in storage until they can afford to get their own apartment. It’s been 10 years.

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21 Answers

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

The various official definitions of Homelessness

No. They are homeless only in their own minds.

mhd14's avatar

Yes. They should get new home on there own.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Are they using the term jokingly?
I have a very well off, retired friend who sold his house and bought a spectacular RV that he uses to tour the country and visit friends. He also calls himself “homeless”.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’ve been living with my parents for the past 2 weeks, while my house is getting repairs. I lost most of my belongings in a flood a year and a half ago,and most of the rest from a hurricane in October. I’ve felt homeless for a long time now.

IMO, it’s a mental thing.

“Home is where you make it” (Joe Dirt.)

JLeslie's avatar

It depends. If it’s a temporary stay, in between having your own home, then yes, it’s like being homeless. It’s not the same homeless as actually living on the streets, but you don’t have you’re own home, and you feel like a guest just waiting to finally get your own place.

When I lived with my inlaws for a few months I had 95% of my belongings in storage. It was practically like living in a hotel, except you have family around, which is nice in one way, but difficult in another.

The term homeless is commonly used to mean someone who can’t afford or keep a home, and has no one to stay with, but not having your own home feels “homeless.”

Completely different is when a relative moves in, and it is considered permanent, or a home that is truly shared. I have friends who have a parent or parents living with them, and the parent isn’t homeless living there, because they are fully part of the household, and the intention in everyones mind is that they will be staying there long term.

zenvelo's avatar

They are not homeless, homeless people don’t have a place to go to.

Homeless people, for whatever reason, don’t have a fall back place they can go to when things get dire.

LostInParadise's avatar

How could we change the definition of homeless to make the relatives be able to say they are homeless? We could say that a homeless person is a person who does not own a home, but that would include people who live in apartments. If your relatives are not contributing to the cost of maintaining the house, we could define being homeless as being above a certain age and not paying for or having paid for their residence. If this definition is being used, your relatives can easily remedy the situation by either kicking in some cash or getting off their butts and helping with the housework.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

^^Change the definition? One of the main contributing factors of modern homelessness is the refusal of families taking care of their own. How about encouraging and facilitating that instead?

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

No. Homeless people live on the streets, in their cars, or in shelters and other transitional places. After 10 years, this is no longer a temporary arrangement.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I went to and looked up “homeless”.
There were many words that applied, including: houseless, unsettled, displaced, itinerant, etc.

dappled_leaves's avatar

As a former census-taker, I can tell you that they are not homeless.

JLeslie's avatar

@LostInParadise In my book an apartment is a home, it’s just not a house. The word isn’t houseless, it’s homeless. Home implies a place that is yours, whether it be rented or owned doesn’t matter in my opinion. Ownership does not necessarily delineate whether it’s your home. Renting gives you certaint legal rights as the tenant, and emotionally one can feel at home as a tenant. Some people don’t feel that way, but I think that has a lot to do with circumstance, what you are used to, and where you live. In NYC renting is very common for all socio-economic levels, in other parts of the country not so much.

I felt homeless when I was in-between houses, but I didn’t verbally identify myself as homeless to people, but I certainly didn’t call my inlaws house my house while I was living there. I was “stating with my inlaws.”

I don’t think contributing to the mortgage or rent works as a parameter either. I gave my inlaws money while I lived there, not that they asked for it. My friends who have a parent living with them don’t charge rent to their parents.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I wish that it were more socially acceptable to live in multi-family homes, as some other cultures do, so I certainly wouldn’t consider sharing a house to be the same as being homelessness.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Sharing a home is different than staying with family until you can get back out. I know plenty of people who have two adult generations living at home.

YARNLADY's avatar

They do help out with the expenses. I think it’s just a reflection of their desire to have their own place, which they cannot afford.

LostInParadise's avatar

@JLeslie , I agree with you completely. In my post, I proposed defining homeless as not owning a home and then rejected that definition for just the reasons you mentioned.

Pandora's avatar

They may say they are homeless but after living with them for 10 years, I doubt they don’t see it as their home, or they would’ve moved out by now.

flo's avatar

No they’re not homless, if they’re sharing the expenses. They may feel homeless but they are not.

jca's avatar

That’s not what I call homeless and that doesn’t meet any definition of homeless, as far as I know.

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