Homelessness in England and its causes.

Homelessness is an issue that is not only affecting Nottingham, it  is also affecting the whole country.

In Nottingham, the number of rough sleepers noticeably increased  in April 2019 when the average number of people on the streets every night reached a record number of 55. One major source of support to tackle homelessness, government funding,  decreased from £127 million in 2012/13 to just £25 million in 2018.

In Englandthe charity Crisis has estimated that the amount of people sleeping rough every night is around 8,000 people In addition, there are about 80,000 households in England meeting the definition of homeless – living in temporary accommodation with no fixed shelter. There are also many more “hidden homeless” who don’t meet the statutory definition, but they also don’t have a permanent home These include, people living in over-crowded accommodations, or moving between unsuitable places. There is no real data on how many hidden homeless there are, but it is estimated to be at least many tens of thousands.

So what are the causes?

Among the causes of all types of homelessness, people usually think of  substance dependency, financial problems or mental illnesses as the main causes. However, sometimes it is more complex than that, and there are different factors that can also contribute to homelessness. Some of these factors can involve societal structures, such as lack of affordable housing and higher costs for first time buyers, no job opportunities and rising poverty levels. Also, changing circumstances and personal factors can contribute to homelessness. These include leaving an institution such as prison, eviction from a rented property or even physical and mental health issues

In England, according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), friends or family no longer willing or able to accommodate is the most frequent cause of homelessness (15000+ households, or 24.5% of the assessed cases from October to December 2018).

 Apart from unknown or other reasons, the second most common cause is the termination of private rented tenancy, mainly due to landlord evictions (12000+ households, or 20% the cases), followed by relationship breakdown.

Below, there are other causes of homelessness that people may not have  considered. 

  1. TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES

Many people become homeless due to traumatic experiences, most of them during childhood. These can include being a victim of violent crime, ,sexual or physical abuse sometimes by a relative or close person, or an unstable environment, such as living in different foster homes. In the case of sexual or physical abuse,  this generally affects women, both in personal relationships and in the ones they witnessed growing up. This can play a particularly important role in women’s pathways into homelessness.

For some people, these experiences put them at risk from an early age to become homeless and might lead them to become dependent on drugs or alcohol while still being a teenager.

2. FAMILY BREAKDOWN

Relationship breakdown, usually between children and their parents or step parents, tends to be the initial driver of homelessness among young people. Often, childrenleave home because of domestic abuse, violence, arguments, a relationship breakdown or even being told to leave. According to statutory statistics for Scotland for 2014/15, 39% of homeless 16-24 year olds said being asked to leave was the reason for their homelessness and 28% cited a dispute within the household as the immediate reason. In addition, 36% of young people were homeless because their parents or caregivers were no longer able or willing to accommodate them, with 24% no longer able to stay with other relatives or friends. Moreover, young LGBT people experience more challenges and are more likely to face homelessness than non-LGBT people.

3. EXCLUSION FROM SCHOOL

Lack of education can make it far more difficult for people to access support services and find help with housing or health issues. Missing out on formal education can also make it harder for them to find a permanent job to afford a place to live, resulting in homelessnessREFUGEES

This includes people who have come to the UK, some of them as unaccompanied minors, escaping from violence in their own country and looking for a better place to live. After being granted asylum, people can find themselves with nowhere to live and  no employment opportunities for them

4. CRIME

Troubled childhoods and involvement in crime from an early age can make young people homeless. Following this route can mean a lack of education, resulting in ddifficulty to find a job and not having enough income to afford a permanent shelter.

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