Why Are People Homeless in the United Kingdom?
An increasing number of people in the UK are experiencing homelessness caused by pressures on the housing market, stagnating wages, an increasing shortfall between housing benefits and housing costs, and mental health challenges.
U.K. homelessness includes rough sleepers—people living in the “open air” and places not designed for habitation; hidden homeless or sofa-surfers–people who live with family or friends because they have no home of their own; and statutory homeless—those who are eligible for local assistance because they are judged to be unintentionally homeless and meet priority need criteria. The “priority need groups” includes people who are:
- In households with dependent children or a pregnant woman
- Aged 16 or 17
- Aged 18 to 20 who were previously in care
- Vulnerable because of:
- Mental illness
- Physical disability
- Fleeing their home because of violence or threat of violence
- Time spent in care, custody, or Her/His Majesty’s (HM) Forces