Society and Culture - Equality & Difference - Youth Homelessness

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Equality means that everyone is equal when measured against society’s standards; all people are held in the same esteem, afforded the same opportunities and are provided with equal ability to access socially valued resources. In essence it means that all people and groups are given fair treatment regardless of their background or socioeconomic status. Unfortunately these ideals - which should be the given right of all human beings, irrespective of who or where they are- are not always met within societies, which brings about inequality. When such societal standards and ideals are not met, we are faced with social inequality, which can create a great disparity in wealth within the economy, as has been the case in Australia. This in turn generates a self-sustaining cycle of poverty, whereby the wealthiest among us are continually increasing the poverty gap through superior access to and greater knowledge of how to utilise our resources. While it is generally accepted that poverty within Australia is relative rather than absolute, this does not make the issue any less important or deserving of our attention. Inequality in Australia tends to be income and access based, and according to the Australian Council of Social Services, as of 2013 there are some 2.2million people Australia wide who are living in poverty as a direct result of such inequalities. There are 1.1million (10%) families living in housing stress, with the cost of housing being the primary cause for families to slide in to the poverty cycle – a cost which has been steadily increasing since 2000 (a 34% increase to be precise). Government statistics from 2012 reflected that there were close to 50,000 (44,083) people under the age of 25 alone who were considered to be homeless on census night, representing almost half of the entire homeless population. With the cost of living on the rise, the wealth

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