Housing

Almost 3 in 4 Brits say homelessness does not get enough attention

Just under nine in ten people believe homelessness is a serious problem, according to an Ipsos Mori poll on how the public viewed the issue

The vast majority of the British public believe homelessness is a serious issue and does not get enough attention, according to a new poll. 

Just under nine in ten people agreed homelessness is a serious problem in the UK and almost three quarters said they believe it does not get the spotlight it deserves.

It also found more people believe homelessness is a consequence of societal issues outside a person’s control than down to a person’s poor choices, with 52 per cent blaming wider problems compared to 17 per cent on the individual.

“This polling shows that there is an opportunity for bold action to end homelessness for good and ensuring that where it exists it is brief and does not recur,” said Dr Lígia Teixeira, chief executive of the Centre for Homelessness Impact (CFHI).

“It’s also encouraging to see that so many of those asked believe that evidence should inform decisions rather than just belief in a particular solution.”

The research, surveying 2,180 adults, is part of CFHI’s End it with Evidence campaign with polling company Ipsos Mori, aiming to use data to bring about a sustainable end to homelessness.

More than half (56 per cent) saw homelessness as affecting the whole of society, compared to 20 per cent believing it only impacts on the person experiencing it.

Creating a legal right to shelter was a popular choice for creating systemic change to end homelessness, backed by 73 per cent of those polled and opposed by just 5 per cent.

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The public also supported investing money in preventing homelessness rather than paying to deal with the issue when it reaches crisis stage with 61 per cent in favour of that approach.

Ben Marshall, research director at Ipsos Mori, added: “The survey highlights the importance of evidence while also generating its own evidence on what people think and know about the issue, its scale and causes.

“For example, people overestimate the extent of homelessness and the incidence of alcohol or drug dependency among those experiencing it. And by a margin of nearly three to one they think that “The UK has one of the highest rates of homelessness among richer countries” – when the opposite is true.”

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