Domestic violence and shortage of affordable homes driving UK homelessness

A fresh government report also lists bereavement, domestic violence and leaving the armed forces as significant causes

The government has revealed bereavement, a lack of affordable homes and domestic violence are among the trends driving homelessness and rough sleeping in the UK.

The housing ministry and the Department of Work and Pensions have published a new review of academic papers.

The study – ‘Homelessness: Causes of Homelessness and Rough Sleeping’ – has been carried out to help forecast the number of families and single people who are at risk.

It is hoped by looking at the evidence again, civil servants will find the hidden homeless who have fallen through cracks in the welfare system.

More than 140 studies were reviewed to give a comprehensive picture of what experts consider the causes of homelessness. Some of the studies were from the UK and others came from Germany, the US and Australia.

The final government report considers three issues – the causes of family homelessness, single homelessness and rough sleeping.


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In all three cases the breakdown of a relationship was a major cause of homelessness. Similarly, the lack of affordable housing in the UK or the loss of a job can push anyone into a crisis. 

The three different groups also face other factors – families and single women are particularly at risk of being left without a home by domestic abuse.

Single people, on the other hand, can face homelessness upon leaving the armed forces, prison or being discharged from another institutional body.

Bereavement was a particular cause of rough sleeping and the lack of emergency accommodation for young people threatened many between the ages of 16 and 25.

The aim of the report was the decide how to analyse homelessness trends in the future. It does not contain recommendations about how to combat the issue.

However the authors of the report have called for local councils to work together to uncover the hidden homeless not getting the support they need.