Why do people become homeless?
The reasons why people become homeless can be varied and complicated, however some of the most common factors might be-
|• Someone being evicted by their landlord
• A person losing their job and the resulting financial and personal health problems
• Relationship problems
• Harassment by neighbours
• A disaster such as fire or flooding
Some groups of people are more likely to become homeless because they have fewer rights, have particular needs or are less able to cope by themselves. These include:
• young people
• old people
• people with children
• people with physical or mental health problems
• people on benefits or low incomes
• people leaving care
• ex-armed forces personnel
• asylum seekers and refugees
How many homeless people are there?
The Scottish Government has published the latest round of homelessness statistics covering April to September 2010. The figures show that the number of homelessness applications in Glasgow increased by 1.2% compared with the same period on 2009 - a total of 5,430 households. At 31st December 2010 there were 2,212 households in temporary accommodation in Glasgow, 850 of which contained dependent children or pregnant women. The total number of children in temporary accommodation at this point was 1,542.
Health and Homelessness
Poor health is not only a consequence of homelessness but can also contribute to someone becoming homeless. More generally there is a greater risk of ill health and of premature death amongst the homeless population than amongst the population at large. There are a wide range of health problems which are more common amongst homeless people. These include persistent conditions as well as anxiety, stress, self-harm, other mental health problems and infectious diseases.
Research by Glasgow Homeless Network found homeless people are 5 times more likely to use A&E than the general population. Homeless Link's Health Audit found that 42% clients had used A&E at least once in the past 6 months.
Glasgow Homeless Network has reported that staff attitudes are the single largest deterrent to homeless people taking up services, with 54% quoting this as the reason they did not go to a GP or hospital.
Homelessness and other forms of inequality
As well as being associated with homelessness, certain forms of inequality such as poverty and unemployment, gender based violence, disability, mental health and addictions can also be the main cause of a person becoming homeless. Homeless people can feel that there is a stigma attached to being homeless. This perception of social stigma is something that is common to a number of marginalised groups.