Mental health increasing reason for housing homeless

  • Figures have revealed that mental health has become an increasingly significant reason for housing homeless people.

    A report placed in a Parliamentary library this month reveals the number of homeless people who have a mental health problem qualifying for council housing has risen by 38.7% since 2010. This compares with just 27% for the overall increase in the number of people qualifying for social housing as a result of homelessness applications to local authorities over the same period, reports the Health Service Journal.

    Under homelessness law, councils only need to find permanent social homes for people considered to be both homeless and in priority need. Home For The Homeless

    Alex Bax, chief executive of Pathway, which works to improve health services for homeless people, said welfare cuts and pressures to move home could add to the precarious situation of some people with mental illness, potentially leading to breakdown and becoming homeless.

    "Some of the rise is related to the more aggressive approach to welfare, [some to] more pressure on mental health services," he added. "They have to move but [can] lack the personal capacity to organise themselves such that they can handle that."

    A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "It is essential that people with mental health problems get support to meet all their needs, including housing. That's why last year we invested £10 million in a programme to support homeless people leaving hospital to make sure their health and housing needs are addressed."

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