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.
The South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare classified 4,921 people nationwide as homeless in 2012, up from 4,403 in 2011 and 4,187 in 2010 (Korean Herald, 2012). However, there are approximately 6,000 people who are residents of rental hostels, which significantly increases the number of homeless people (Osaka City University, 2009).
Public perceptions of homeless people 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. According to tradition, women should be confined to domestic sphere and carry out maternal roles (Song, 2009). During the 1997-2001 debt crisis, the Korean government declared that it would assist only short-term homeless men, and classified long-term homeless men and all homeless women as underserving citizens whom government could not help (Anagnost et al, 2013).