Skip to main content

Poor physical health is both a driver and consequence of homelessness

The issue

Homelessness and poor physical health go hand-in-hand. It is not surprising that sleeping on the streets, in hostels, in squats or in substandard or overcrowded accommodation can have a damaging effect on someone's physical wellbeing.

In addition to the impact of bad conditions, recent research found that homeless people are 17 times more likely to be a victim of violence, much of it perpetrated by the general public. 

The report found that for current or recent rough sleepers

  • more than 1 in 3 have been deliberately hit or kicked or experienced some other form of violence whilst homeless (35%)
  • more than 1 in 3 have had things thrown at them whilst homeless (34%)
  • almost 1 in 10 have been urinated on whilst homeless (9%)
  • more than 1 in 20 have been the victim of a sexual assault whilst homeless (7%)
  • almost half have been intimidated or threatened with violence whilst homeless (48%)
  • almost 6 in 10 have had been verbally abused or harassed whilst homeless (59%).

Read more in It's no life at all - December 2016. 

The solutions

People need stable and secure accommodation in order to overcome the physical health problems they may develop on the streets or living in insecure housing. See more about work on housing supply and employment support.

Find out about the other impacts of homelessness.

See also: mental health.