Causes of Homelessness

Homelessness means not having a home – most people who are homeless don’t sleep on the street. Even if you have a roof over your head you can still be homeless. This is because you may not have any rights to stay where you live or your home might be unsuitable for you due to severe overcrowding or other reasons. Lots of people “sofa surf”, stay with friends sleeping on their sofa.

Personal causes of homelessness

  • Relationship breakdown
  • Poor health – physical and mental
  • Lack of qualifications
  • Lack of social  support – family and friends
  • Drug and/or alcohol abuse
  • Family background – breakdown in relationships, abuse
  • Institutional background – been in care, prison, armed forces

Structural causes

  • Unemployment
  • Poverty
  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Housing benefit administration
  • Closure of long stay psychiatric hospitals

Most common reasons given by homeless people (Often more than one apply)

  • Relationship breakdown – 41%
  • Being asked to leave the family home – 28%
  • Drug and alcohol problems – 30%
  • Leaving prison – 25%
  • Mental health problems – 19%
  • Other – eviction, problems with benefits