Homelessness in the United Kingdom. For the longest time, the word homeless has been used as a negative connotation to describe someone. This has resulted in a stigma attached to homeless people – products of socio-economic failure which they enforced upon themselves due to inadequacy and incompetence. Therefore, we also believe that these people choose to live life like this. However, this is not entirely the case. Homelessness is a social issue that needs to be addressed. According to the crisis.org.uk, a total of more than 200,000 people including families, senior citizens, and young individuals experienced some of the worst forms of homelessness in the United Kingdom this year. This is an alarming number especially after being the fifth largest economy in the world. The number of homeless people also increased due to the recent pandemic, as many struggling individuals lost their jobs and were unable to make ends meet.
Understanding there is a Problem
A poll was conducted to understand the perception of homelessness in Britain and it indicated that nine out of ten people agreed that homelessness is a serious issue faced in the region and that largely homelessness is a result of socio-economic issues outside the control of an individual. Homelessness is caused due to various reasons. Some of these include poverty, unemployment, lack of affordable housing, or life events that pushed people into this social spectrum. Since homelessness has a causal relationship with the aforementioned factors, escape from it is tough. In fact, homelessness is an added layer of burden and stress that an individual has to go through on top of the social or personal issues he or she faces. However, it is not impossible to defy homelessness and live a better life.
Types of Homelessness
There are multiple types of homelessness and should be addressed accordingly. To begin with, Rough Sleeping. This is the most vulnerable and dangerous form of homelessness. As the name suggests, rough sleeping means sleeping on streets or abandoned public areas. This not only causes detrimental impacts on the physical health of an individual but also results in trauma and disturbed mental health. In addition to this, rough sleepers are susceptible to substance abuse and catching diseases.
Statutory homelessness is another form of homelessness that many families experience due to strict homelessness assistance criteria. People that are financially weak or face poor socio-economic conditions and are unable to afford a residence rely on government support for finding a secure place to live. However, the increased homeless population has placed a burden on the government. As a result, many people are deprived of assistance. Moreover, only temporary accommodation is provided to those that qualify for the program, and in the long run, they remain homeless.
Apart from this another form of homelessness exists known as Hidden Homelessness. It is used for people that do not have a permanent residence and stay with their friends or family. People as such usually do couch surfing or live in overcrowded residences. Therefore, the name hidden homelessness and it is also tough to identify such individuals.
Homelessness as mentioned before can directly impact the health of an individual. Any homeless person is more likely to get infected by multiple viral and non-viral diseases. According to research conducted by University College London, almost one out of three homeless individuals die from treatable medical conditions. It also identified that cardiovascular diseases were a common cause of death in the homeless population. However, apart from this many homeless individuals indulge themselves in substance abuse, which is also one of the leading factors for mortalities in the homeless population.
How is Homelessness caused?
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