Why people become homeless

The causes of homelessness are rarely straightforward

Whatever the initial reason that someone becomes homeless (a relationship breakdown, for example), we know that poverty is likely to be an underlying factor.

The chances of someone experiencing homelessness by the age of 30 are predicted by:

  • childhood poverty (by far the most powerful influence)
  • geography (more likely in areas of higher housing market pressures)
  • adverse experiences as teenager (especially being excluded from school, serious drug use, being in care
  • early adult experiences (leaving education early, experiencing unemployment, renting, illness/ disability, social relationships with family)

Often, several of these factors are to blame. For example, persistent poverty can affect family relationships or a person's mental health. Or having complex needs, such as mental ill health or a physical disability, can make it more difficult for someone to gain or sustain employment.

That's why our frontline teams are trained to offer a full range of support, connecting people with mental health services, drug and alcohol recovery and help with tenancies, debt and finding work. We help people develop resilience so they can better cope with past traumas and adverse life events.

Homelessness is complicated and some people need more support than others to move away from it. Our staff understand how each person is shaped by their history, while recognising that everyone has the power to change and grow.


Preventing homelessness

With the right support, people can be prevented from losing their home in the first place.

If someone is at risk of becoming homeless, we prevent people from losing their home by helping them to maintain their tenancy, manage their mental health and address any other problems they are facing – whether it’s related to money management, debts and benefits, poor housing conditions or relationships with landlords.

And because causes of homelessness can often be traced back to childhood, we also have services for young people. By putting the right support in place, we can ensure that any issues they are facing are addressed, and that they feel included, have positive mental health and a bright future.

Kent faces a homelessness emergency

The cost of living is increasing at a dramatic rate and Kent residents are among the worst affected. We’re hearing from an increasing number of people who are unable to afford rising food costs, soaring energy bills and rents which are higher than in many other parts of England.

Even before this, the lack of affordable housing has been driving homelessness in Kent for years. Housing has become even less affordable and for the most vulnerable people in our community, this perfect storm of events is proving to be devastating.

In short, we’re facing a homelessness crisis. There is a growing demand for the help that Porchlight provides but it’s coming as funding for the specialist support we provide to help people facing homelessness is being withdrawn. As a result, we may struggle to help everyone who needs us.

If you are experiencing problems with housing or your mental health, or you support someone who is, you can find more information about our current services here.

Or if you're inspired to support our charity's work, explore the links below or click here.

We’re hearing from people who are unable to afford rising food costs, soaring energy bills and rents.