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climate soldiers as their carbon footprints are almost zero homelessness is caused by a complex interplay between a person's individual

circumstances and adverse 'structural' factors outside their direct control.

Personal causes of homelessness

A number of different personal and social factors can contribute towards people becoming homeless. These may include one or more of the following:

individual factors including drug and alcohol misuse, lack of qualifications, lack of social support, debts - especially mortgage or rent arrears, poor physical and mental health, relationship breakdown, and getting involved in crime at an early age

family background including family breakdown and disputes, sexual and physical abuse in childhood or adolescence, having parents with drug or alcohol problems, and previous experience of family homelessness

an institutional background including having been in care, the armed forces, or in prison. Tackling these problems is a complex business and normally requires support from public bodies, friends and family, combined with a lot of hard work from the individual or family in trouble. Public support might include intervention, advice, counselling, training or provision of alternative accommodation by a local authority where appropriate. However, in all instances Shelter believes these problems can be best resolved when the person or family in question has a decent and secure home.

Structural causes of homelessness

Structural causes of homelessness are social and economic in nature, and are often outside the control of the individual or family concerned. These may include:

unemployment poverty a lack of affordable housing housing policies the structure and administration of housing benefit wider policy developments, such as the closure of long-stay psychiatric hospitals. These problems require long-term policy solutions such as changes in the housing benefit system, the building of more affordable homes, and ensuring that a wider cross-section of society benefits from the fruits of economic growth.

The factors that make one homeless are: 1. Poverty 2. Unemployment 3. Destitution 4. Social dissonance (riots, caste atrocities/ expulsion/exclusion, communalism {like the one in 2002 Gujarat carnage}) 5. Familial violence scaring out children and wives/ widows 6. Natural calamities (floods, earthquakes, fire, landslides, Tsunami, cyclone, etc.) 7. State violence (likes of Salwa Judum, Police, Army {in North East & Kashmir}, by political party in power) 8. Evictions in cities and 9. Land usurpations for SEZs, STZs, expressways and other projects for private interests than public. Our studies in 2000 and 2008 have shown that most of the people who are homeless are due to poverty and unemployment. And bulk of them are in cities due to socioeconomic compulsions (Push factor) than for the glitter and glamour of the city (Pull factor). Factors Contributing to Homelessness A wide array of factors contribute to homelessness, but they can be thought of as falling into one of two categories: structural problems and individual factors that increase vulnerability. Structural problems

Lack of affordable housing Changes in the industrial economy leading to unemployment Inadequate income supports the de-institutionalization of patients with mental health problems and the erosion of family and social support. Factors that increase an individual's vulnerability Physical or mental illness Disability Substance abuse Domestic violence Job loss

Reducing homelessness will mean addressing issues such as these. Since homelessness is a phrase in which a broad range of people and circumstances are concerned. Factors that contribute to homelessness are also broad. They include

Poverty:- Homelessness and poverty are attached together. Poor people are not in a position to pay for housing, food, child care, health care, and education.


3. 4. 5. 6. 7.


Drug Addiction:- Data indicates that alcohol and drug abuse are excessively high among the homeless inhabitants. People who are poor and addicted are obviously at augmented risk of homelessness. War:- It causes unexpected homelessness. People who are in a good position suddenly loose their home due to battle among countries. Overcrowding and harassment by landlords. Unhealthy relationships between young people and their parents or guardians. Unemployment Divorce:- Anyone in a family whether mother, father or child can become homeless due to separation. Single parents with dependent children are mostly at risk of homelessness. Natural disaster:- Cyclone, Tsunami and other calamities totally destroy the region. The homes are destroyed and families gets dislocated.

At present, people are dealing with problems in community setting which give rise to homelessness. One of the major causes of homelessness is poverty. Homelessness and poverty are attached together. Poor people are not in a position to pay for housing, food, child care, health care, and education. It had emerged in the 1980s because of the changeover from an industrial based capitalist economy to a postindustrial capitalist service economy within the framework of globally developing global relations.

. They are often the results of poor income distribution (a few people with high incomes, many people with low incomes) and bad policy.
What are the greatest causes of homelessness? For persons in families, the three most commonly cited causes, according to a 2008 U.S. Conference of Mayors study (pdf) are:

Lack of affordable housing Poverty Unemployment

For singles, the three most commonly cited causes of homelessness are:

Substance abuse Lack of affordable housing Mental illness

Two trends are largely responsible for the rise in homelessness over the past 20-25 years: a growing shortage of affordable rental housing and a simultaneous increase in poverty.

Homelessness and poverty are inextricably linked. Poor people are frequently unable to pay for housing, food, childcare, health care, and education. Difficult choices must be made when limited resources cover only some of these necessities. Often it is housing, which absorbs a high proportion of income that must be dropped. If you are poor, you are essentially an illness, an accident, or a paycheck away from living on the streets. ERODING WORK OPPORTUNITIES

Reasons why homelessness persists include stagnant or falling incomes and less secure jobs which offer fewer benefits. Low-wage workers have been particularly have been left behind as the disparity between rich and poor has mushroomed. . Factors contributing to wage declines include a steep drop in the number and bargaining power of unionized workers; erosion in the value of the minimum wage; a decline in manufacturing jobs and the corresponding expansion of lower-paying service-sector employment; globalization; and increased nonstandard work, such as temporary and part-time employment DECLINE IN PUBLIC ASSISTANCE The declining value and availability of public assistance is another source of increasing poverty and homelessness.

A lack of affordable housing and the limited scale of housing assistance programs have contributed to the current housing crisis and to homelessness. The lack of affordable housing has lead to high rent burdens (rents which absorb a high proportion of income), overcrowding, and substandard housing. These phenomena, in turn, have not only forced many people to become homeless; they have put a large and growing number of people at risk of becoming homeless.

Particularly within the context of poverty and the lack of affordable housing, certain additional factors may push people into homelessness. Other major factors, which can contribute to homelessness, include the following: Lack of Affordable Health Care: For families and individuals struggling to pay the rent, a serious illness or disability can start a downward spiral into homelessness, beginning with a lost job, depletion of savings to pay for care, and eventual eviction. One in three Americans, or 86.7 million people, is uninsured. Of those uninsured, 30.7% are under eighteen. In 2007-2008, four out of five people that were uninsured were working families. Work-based health insurance has become rarer in recent years, especially for workers in the agricultural or service sectors (Families USA, 2009). Domestic Violence: Battered women who live in poverty are often forced to choose between abusive relationships and homelessness. In addition, 50% of the cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2005).Approximately 63% of homeless women have experienced domestic violence in their adult lives (Network to End Domestic Violence). Mental Illness: Approximately 16% of the single adult homeless population suffers from some form of severe and persistent mental illness (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2005). Despite the disproportionate number of severely mentally ill people among the homeless population, increases in homelessness are not attributable to the release of severely mentally ill people from institutions. Most patients were released from mental hospitals in the 1950s and 1960s, yet vast increases in homelessness did not occur until the 1980s, when incomes and housing options for those living on the margins began to diminish rapidly. According to the 2003 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Report, most homeless persons with mental illness do not need to be institutionalized, but can live in the community with the appropriate supportive housing options (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2003). However, many mentally ill homeless people are unable to obtain access to

supportive housing and/or other treatment services. The mental health support services most needed include case management, housing, and treatment. Addiction Disorders: The relationship between addiction and homelessness is complex and controversial. While rates of alcohol and drug abuse are disproportionately high among the homeless population, the increase in homelessness over the past two decades cannot be explained by addiction alone. Many people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs never become homeless, but people who are poor and addicted are clearly at increased risk of homelessness. Addiction does increase the risk of displacement for the precariously housed; in the absence of appropriate treatment, it may doom one's chances of getting housing once on the streets. Homeless people often face insurmountable barriers to obtaining health care, including addictive disorder treatment services and recovery supports.

Homelessness results from a complex set of circumstances that require people to choose between food, shelter, and other basic needs. Only a concerted effort to ensure jobs that pay a living wage, adequate support for those who cannot work, affordable housing, and access to health care will bring an end to homelessness.
Other factors that contribute to homelessness include: Loss of Job High Housing / Rental Costs Death of a Family Member Natural Disasters (fires, storms) Family Break Up Family Crisis (loss of hours; car break down) Domestic Violence Disability - Physical/Mental Low Paying Job Catastrophic Illness Lack of Transportation (car or public system) Lack of Affordable Health Care

Why Affordable Housing is the Root...

When a household is using more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs, they frequently have to make difficult decisions about what to pay - housing, utilities, food, childcare, health care, education, transportation. With limited resoureces, one emergency or unplanned situation can begin a downward spiral to homelessness.

What's Affordable?
When a household spends more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs, their housing is considered unaffordable and the household could be at risk of becoming homeless. DEMOGRAPHICS

Two trends are largely responsible for the rise in homelessness over the past 20-25 years: a growing

shortage of affordable rental housing and a simultaneous increase in poverty. Persons living in poverty are

most at risk of becoming homeless, and demographic groups who are more likely to experience poverty

are also more likely to experience homelessness. Recent demographic statistics are summarized below.

Causes of Homelessness for Women

Critical factors that result in homelessness, including of women, are:1.

Lack of affordable housing:

In the absence of public housing and low-cost housing schemes in cities andtowns, the poorest of the poor are forced to live on the streets, as even slums are beyond their economicmeans. Accessing housing is even more difficult for women, especially single women. At the end of theTenth Five Year Plan, the urban housing shortage in India was 24.7 million dwelling units, of which 99% per cent pertained to the Economically Weaker Sections and Low Income Groups. In Delhi, the housing shortagewas estimated at 1.13 million dwelling units. 2.

Slum demolitions and evictions without rehabilitation:

Forced evictions, accompanied by violence, areincreasing across India. Women and children are the worst affected. In the absence of adequate rehabilitation,thousands are rendered homeless and forced to eke out an existence on the streets. Even in the approximately20 per cent of cases where rehabilitation is provided, conditions in resettlement sites are abysmal. Most of theresettlement sites are located on the peripheries of the city making it impossible for families to continue withtheir livelihoods. Studies in the resettlement site of Bawana, Delhi, highlight that women and their livelihoods suffer the most due to failed resettlement (

Menon Sen and Bhan 2008



Domestic Violence: Domestic violence can greatly increase womens vulnerability to homelessness,especially when there is a lack of protection by law enforcement officials, or by the legal system itself. Manywomen who do manage to leave home become vulnerable to homelessness and consequently may suffer further violence. Across the world, a large proportion of homeless women are those who have escapeddomestic violence. In Indian cities too, domestic violence is one of the reasons for homelessness of women.On the other hand, the associated fear of homelessness can lead some women to stay in abusive anddangerous situations, or return to them if they have attempted to leave.


Breakdown of Family and Partnership/Marriage

: Abandonment by husbands, eviction from homes after thedeath of the husband, fear, desertion, husbands or fathers remarrying, and mental illness also result in women being thrown out of their homes and onto the streets.

8 In settings where there is stigma associated with the perceived breakdown of marriage or dom estic partnership, informal networks of care and support maydisintegrate and further expose women to the risk of homelessness.5.

Inequitable Planning and Land Use:

Across urban India, land use planning is extremely inequitable andfavours a development paradigm aimed at benefiting the upper classes and elite. A United NationsDevelopment Programme concept note prepared in 2003 stated that 95 per cent of legal urban space was usedand kept for the benefit of the most privileged 5 per cent of the city population. Separate spaces for womenare not factored into planning processes, neither are women consulted in the development of city and master plans. Housing and settlement planning is not gendered and city spaces are increasingly becoming more andmore unsafe for women. The failure to reserve land for low-cost housing and the increasing speculation of land and property makes housing more and more unaffordable, contributing to homelessness.6.

Inadequacy of the Law:

The existence of discriminatory laws and anti-poor legislation such as the BombayPrevention of Begging Act 1959 (adopted in Delhi in 1961) coupled with the absence of strong legal protection for housing rights and womens rights, results in women finding themselves increasinglyvulnerable to homelessness and violence in urban areas. Though the Protection of Women from DomesticViolence Act 2005 contains a provision securing womens rights to remain in their place of domicile,improper implementation of the Act continues to result in victims of domestic violence being thrown out of their homes or being forced to leave situations of violence.

Other factors contributing to homelessness of women are: lack of secure tenure, lack of information aboutwomens human rights, lack of access to affordable social serv ices as a result of privatization, lack of access tocredit and housing subsidies, bureaucratic barriers preventing access to housing programmes, rising poverty andunemployment and discriminatory cultural and traditional practices. The former Special Rapporteur on adequatehousing noted that a states obligation to eliminate gender discrimination is one

of immediate effect

and failureto do so constitutes a human rights violation.

Lack of Basic Services and Risks to Security and Personal Safety

Facilities such as toilets, bathrooms and water are not easily accessible to the homeless. Each such service that ahomeless person needs has to be paid for, and in cash. Having to pay coupled with lack of access to securetoilets and bathing areas often means that they must relieve themselves in the open, bathe less frequently or inthe open/behind plastic covers, and access unclean water through public taps and leaking pipelines. This is mostdifficult for women, rendering them vulnerable to all forms of violence and abuse. The lack of a secure place toundress and change clothes and bathing in public spaces also makes women vulnerable to genderbasedviolence.