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Causes of Homelessness
Homelessness is a complex issue. There is no one cause, and no one solution.
People become homeless for a whole range of complex and overlapping reasons.
Poverty is an underlying cause of homelessness. Other factors, many of which are inter-related, also contribute to homelessness. People who are homeless are often in poor mental and physical health. Drug and alcohol addiction can be an issue. Broken families, poor upbringings, dreadful life circumstances, inadequate education and unemployment can all be contributing factors to homelessness. Leaving institutional care or leaving prison can trigger homelessness. People who are most vulnerable and excluded often experience a combination of some or all of these factors, usually referred to as complex needs.
The most common trigger for homelessness among men supported by Cork Simon is alcohol use, followed by family conflict, drug use and poor mental health. Among women supported by Cork Simon, family conflict, domestic violence and alcohol use are among the most common triggers for first becoming homeless.
There are many causes of homelessness, and homelessness has many consequences. Homelessness can damage people's capability through their physical and mental health deteriorating, through loss of skills and through loss of self-esteem and self-confidence.
As well as addressing housing issues, it is important to support people in addressing their health and their addictions and in building their skills, confidence and capability so they can feel in control of their lives again and take steps to move on from homelessness.