Promoting visibility to fight vulnerability: the experience of the National Survey on Homeless Persons - Brazil, 2008

Junia Quiroga, Ministry of Social Development and the Fight Against Hunger

This paper analyses the methodological procedures taken by the Brazilian Government to carry out the first national innitiative to count and describe homeless people. The National Survey on Homeless persons conducted in 2007/8 identified 31,922 adults in 71 municipalities. I discuss methodological aspects of measurement of this group, such as the difficulty of definition of the universe (concept), the preparation of instruments, and the procedures to avoid double counting. Also, I emphasize the political aspects of the survey since it integrates a governmental response to the demand for visibility claimed by HP and HP entities. As part of this response, methodological decisions were made into having HP/HP entities accompanying all steps of the survey, a very rich but very demanding experience. What are the strenghts/limitations that this social control introduces to the elaboration and results of such a research? Is promoting participation in the process of data collection in itself an emancipation strategy for the group?

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Presented in Session 10: Measuring hard-to-count populations and sensitive issues