Relationship breakdown and loneliness
Crisis research has found that, for many homeless people, social isolation preceded homelessness and the experience of homelessness then exacerbates that isolation.
Informal support, such as that provided by family members and friends, can be extremely valuable for all of us, but they can be especially key to a better future for someone with experiences of homelessness.
However, the main cause of homelessness is widely accepted as being relationship breakdown (such as disputes with parents, domestic abuse, marital breakdown or bereavement) and many homeless people do not have any contact with their families.
Isolation and loneliness
Alongside the lack of informal support networks, isolation and loneliness are common among people who are homeless. Less than a third of homeless people spend time with non-homeless people, and almost 38% of homeless people said they spent their entire day alone. A third of homeless men reported that their only daily contact was with service providers, and more than half of homeless people said they had no ‘family ties'.
Isolation of this kind erodes people's capability (e.g. employability, skills, knowledge, etc) as well as their resilience or ability to cope with life's adverse events, including having the ability to overcome life's difficulties.
Formerly homeless people
Isolation and loneliness are also commonly experienced after people have been re-housed into permanent housing and are often linked to tenancy breakdown and repeated episodes of homelessness. One in four formerly homeless people find themselves unable to sustain a tenancy, with loneliness and isolation the main causes of this.
Building people's skills and confidence, engaging them with society, offering opportunities for volunteering and linking them to others, for example through mentoring, all help break isolation.