The Big Issue Korea
The Korean Homeless Team is managed by the street paper Big Issue South Korea, a social enterprise that is part of international street paper network The Big Issue. One of the enterprise’s permanent activities is street football, titled The Homeless Healthy Football League. Its impact is two-fold. It encourages homeless people to regularly exercise and therefore lead a healthy lifestyle. It also raises awareness about homelessness and shows people in Korea that homeless people can play football, and consequently work and live just like any ordinary person.
Public perceptions of homeless people in South Korea range between fear, pity, and disgust (Korean Herald, 2012). People tend to have extremely negative attitudes towards homeless women, who are seen as pathological by their society.
Homelessness in Korea’s capital Seoul has improved over the last 6 years (Hankyoreh, 2017) but is still an issue, with 1,520 living on the street nationwide in October 2016. This number is bolstered by the 9,330 living in nursing and rehabilitation facilities and 6,190 in temporary shelters (Statista, 2016).
14.4% of South Koreans still live in a vulnerable position below the poverty line (CIA, 2016).