Homelessness is a serious problem in the UK, but what are the real causes behind it? As with most societal issues, there isn’t a clear answer. People become homeless for a number of different reasons, some of which are very specific to a particular person and some of which are indicative of problems with society as a whole. Let’s take a look at some of the more common reasons why someone would be homeless.
Health issues may not be the biggest reason why people would become homeless, but they are a major contributing factor. Ideally, people who have issues with their mental or physical health would receive the care that they need and be able to live a more-or-less happy and healthy life. Sadly, that isn’t always the case. Those with serious mental health issues often struggle to receive the care that they need if they are able to seek treatment at all, and that makes it difficult to do things such as hold down a job and pay their bills. Eventually, this gets bad enough where they are unable to afford a place to stay, which leaves them without a home.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse
You could probably lump drug and alcohol abuse in with health issues, but it is specific enough to warrant its own category here. Drug and alcohol abuse is obviously a serious issue that can ruin a person’s life in many ways, and it just so happens that it can cost someone their home. An addicted person will spend all of their time and money using their drug of choice, which leaves them unable to care for themselves and maintain a place of residence.
Poverty and Housing
Sometimes people become homeless simply because they are unable to pay rent or mortgage on their home. This is due to the high cost and relative scarcity of housing in many parts of the UK. The number of rented homes in England fell 120,000 between 2012 and 2016, and those numbers could be getting worse. People who live on or below the poverty line in the UK are often just one layoff or medical emergency away from not being able to pay their rent, a situation that often leaves people without a home.
These are just a few of the reasons behind homelessness in the UK. Truth be told, there are probably as many reasons for homelessness as there are homeless people in the world, but we do need to make some serious changes if we want to combat this crisis. We need to make homes more affordable to low-income people, we need to ensure that everyone can receive affordable healthcare, and we need to be ready to help those who are homeless find shelter. It’s never easy to make these kinds of changes in any country, but it must be done if we are to combat this serious issue.