Report: Majority of the homeless are men

A new report shows that most of the homeless people in Kenya are men.

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A new report by the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) shows that men make up more than half of the homeless in Kenya.

According to the report, out of 10 homeless people, eight are men, as indicated in the Sessional Paper No.1 of 2023 on Kenya National Population Policy for Sustainable Development.

According to the Fifth Sessional paper, men make up 80 per cent of the homeless people in the country, with 42 individuals out of 100,000 being homeless.

Men in the country also rank highly among other vulnerable populations, including persons with disabilities and total orphans.

“Homelessness is often considered a sign and cause of poverty and social exclusion. The main issues affecting this segment of the population are lack of residence, poverty, health, education and social integration,” stated NCPD Director-General Mohamed Sheikh.

In terms of homelessness, men are followed by children aged five years.

Speaking during the report launch in Nairobi, Dr Sheikh implored the government to “explore effective measures for settling homeless persons”.

Main concerns

The report has listed vulnerability to poor health, insecurity and poor access to social amenities as the main concerns facing the destitute in the country.

At the same time, the number of homeless people in the country has increased by nearly twofold in a span of five years.

The Kenya Population and Housing Census 2019 enumerated 20,101 homeless people, which is less than 1 per cent of the total population in the country.

Presently, a total of 46,639 Kenyans are living on the streets, with Nairobi County leading with the highest number at 15,337.

Other counties with a large number of homeless persons, according to the report, include Mombasa (7,529), Kisumu (2,746), Uasin Gishu (2,147) and Nakuru (2,005).

Vulnerability

“This category of the population is found in all the segments of the population,” the report reads in part. “Vulnerability results from orphanhood, disability or difficulty in performing activities of daily life, social discrimination associated with intersex, and homelessness due to displacement or poverty.”

Kenya is now ranked as a Low Middle Income Country and the ninth largest economy in the African continent. However, 18 per cent of the population in Kenya lives in squalor, spending below $1.98 (Sh255) daily according to a 2022 World Bank report.

The rate of unemployment has also increased in the last decade to 5.5 per cent in 2019 from 3 per cent in 1999, according to the report.

The report, however, shows a sharp decline in the number of children engaged in illegal employment.

“The proportion of children engaged in labour declined from 35 per cent in 2014 to 9 per cent in 2022. Labour force participation rate among the working age is estimated at 77 per cent,” it states.

Labour force participation rate, as explained in the NCPD report, is “a measure of the proportion of a country’s working-age population that engages actively in the labour market, either by working or looking for work”.

Through its newly launched policy, NCPD has called upon both the national and county governments to ensure the integration of population issues in efforts to address various areas of concern.