This chapter focuses on the salience of homelessness constructions reviewing how the various meanings attached to homelessness ― masterless men, vagrancy, destitution’, houseless poor’, rootless’, statutory homeless and rough sleepers ― have had lasting political importance with their structural/agency dimensions framing wider debates on the housing issue. It examines the political processes involved in homelessness designations reflected in the Poor Law, vagrancy legislation, the 1977 Housing (Homeless Persons) Act, rough sleeper initiatives and the prevention strategy adopted by New Labour and the Coalition government. It explores the application of the perverse incentives notion to homelessness and the political importance of the headline figures generated by the operations of homelessness legislation. The politics of Housing First are examined.
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