Causes of homelessness

People who become homeless reach a point of crisis – a tipping point at which they are unable to control their future. They arrive at this point as a result of a combination of personal circumstances and adverse structural / environmental factors beyond their control.


Personal problems led to Keith's homelessness

The campaign group Shelter talks of Structural and Personal causes to homelessness. 

Personal causes of homelessness

There are a number of contributing factors that can push an individual into crisis and towards homelessness. These can be summed up as follows: 

  • Individual factors: including drug and alcohol misuse, lack of qualifications, lack of social support, debts - especially mortgage or rent arrears, poor physical and mental health, relationship breakdown, and getting involved in crime at an early age
  • Family background: including family breakdown and disputes, sexual and physical abuse in childhood or adolescence, having parents with drug or alcohol problems, and previous experience of family homelessness
  • An institutional background: including having been in care, the armed forces, or in prison.


Structural causes of homelessness

Structural causes are social and economic in nature and can be influenced positively or negatively by central and local government.

Often these factors are beyond the control of people. They include: 

  • The health of the economy
  • Unemployment
  • The effects of government policy
  • The structure and administration of housing benefit


These factors are difficult for organisations like Framework to influence, but this doesn’t mean we won’t try. Where clear economic trends occur we will adapt our services to meet increases and changes in demand, and where government policies adversely impact the people we exist to support we will campaign to change them.