Homelessness in the UK: Who is most at risk?

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Is the common pressure group and media refrain that ‘we are all two pay cheques away from homelessness’ justified by the evidence? Drawing on multivariate analysis of two cross-sectional datasets (the ‘Scottish Household Survey’ and the UK-wide ‘Poverty and Social Exclusion’) Survey and one longitudinal data-set (the ‘British Cohort Study 1970’), this paper provides a systematic account of the social distribution of homelessness in the UK. Informed by a critical realist explanatory framework, our analysis underlines the centrality of poverty, especially childhood poverty, to the generation of homelessness, while also demonstrating the impact of broader labour and housing market contexts, and certain demographic, personal and social support characteristics. These findings reinforce the moral imperative for policy action on homelessness, while at the same time signalling opportunities to target preventative interventions on high risk groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-116
Number of pages21
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number1
Early online date1 Jul 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jul 2017


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