Lived Experiences of Homelessness In Kolkata: A Phenomenological Analysis

Previous research into homelessness has tended to focus on the demography, survival needs and socio-economic profile of the homeless, almost exclusively adopting the quantitative method. This qualitative study aimed to explore the subjective experience of homelessness from the perspective of one hundred four participants in Kolkata, who had been homeless for several years. Participants were asked to give their accounts during in-depth interviews. The subsequent transcripts were analysed using phenomenological analysis, where superordinate themes were identified: the impact of homelessness and surviving homelessness. Results illustrated that homelessness is impacting self-esteem and feelings of helplessness, insecurity, despair, pain and loss of willingness to work are represented through the narratives of their everyday lives. Participants also revealed their enduring hardships and overcoming adversity.