HELP THEM HELP THEMSELVES . Homelessness is a new phenomenon that has become remarkably present in modern Moroccan society. Many factors contributed to the emergence of homelessness, namely: wrong economic and social policies that are non-equitable towards fragile social groups at risk of poverty, marginalization, and social exclusion; besides some changes that affected the values system in Moroccan society. Homelessness has been on the rise with no hope of reducing it in the short or medium terms. No one doubts that the economic policy is corrupt and is based on unpopular choices. Based on this damaged development, the social structure now includes: poor and marginalized people who live at the bottom of society, deprived of all the requirements for a decent life, or even the minimum requirements to stay alive; and a wealthy elite, with a level and pattern of living that are similar to those of the world’s richest people. Consequently, society suffers from a lack of job opportunities, the spread of illiteracy, and the dispersion of crime and extremism that reached some categories that have been always safe from them. It all started when Morocco adopted a structural adjustment policy in 1983. Since then, all official data showed that some expanding social groups in the Moroccan society are suffering from the consequences of poverty, economic vulnerability, marginalization, and deprivation of social services that are no longer available for those who cannot afford them. As it is known, poverty can be structural or circumstantial, absolute or relative. Poverty is circumstantial when caused by some conditions that are specific in time; and it can be relative when it does not affect all social strata that are fragile and threatened by poverty. As a result of these changes that significantly affected the values system in Moroccan society, family and collective solidarity started being replaced by new values, brought to us by the market era, the sweep of globalization, and the spread of individualism values. The family, neighborhood, and village used to compose a strong physical and moral immunity for the elderly and children; but these forms of interdependence and solidarity started to disappear from today’s Moroccan society. This inevitably led to the emergence of new social groups, called in modern literature “street children”, “the homeless”, “juvenile delinquents”, “single mothers”, etc. In addition to the above, other factors have had an effective role in the spread of these phenomena, namely the demographic shifts in Morocco that affected the country’s population and age structure, as well as the results of these transformations in terms of new dynamics, relationships, values, and production patterns. Studies carried by the High Planning Commission about the elderly and single mothers indicate that the percentage of old people in Morocco will increase from 8% in 2006 to 11,5% by 2020, and reach up to 15,9% by the year 2030. 89% of these people are illiterate, and 92% of them are rural. Women represent 94.5% of the illiterate elderly. All these data show the fragility of this category that will end up being the victim of social neglect, and subject to marginalization and exclusion, and therefore become homeless. The same conclusion can be drawn from the growing phenomenon of single mothers who abandon their babies after birth, or who are unable to support and take care of them when they get a little bit older, so those kids do not have any other shelter other than the street.
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