Causes and consequences
What causes homelessness?
Crisis research looking at people's turning points into homelessness in the UK, found that reasons most often cited by male participants were relationship breakdown, substance misuse, and leaving an institution (prison, care, hospital etc.). For homeless women, the most common causes were physical or mental health problems and escaping a violent relationship.
There are also problems in wider society that can contribute towards homelessness. These structural causes might include a lack of affordable housing; high levels of poverty, unemployment or worklessness; the way in which the benefits system operates; or the way social housing is rationed.
What are the consequences of homelessness?
Whatever the causes of an individual's homelessness, the consequences can be brutal. Homelessness damages people's capability through loss of skills, through an inability to think about employment whilst worrying about housing, and through their health becoming impaired whilst homeless. Homelessness also damages people's resilience, self-esteem and self-confidence.
One in four ex-homeless people also find themselves unable to sustain a tenancy - loneliness and isolation are the main causes, often compounded by lack of choice about where they can live. Therefore it is important to build people's skills, confidence and capability to empower them to feel in control of their lives again and so they are able to move on from homelessness for good.