The Impact of Homelessness on Health

Homelessness is bad for all our health, and wealth. Homelessness is a measure of our collective success, or otherwise, in reducing inequalities. Evidence tells us that the health of people experiencing homelessness is significantly worse than that of the general population. The relationship between homelessness, health and wellbeing in later life is not documented to the same extent as for younger populations. A three-nation study identified that physical and mental health problems, alcohol abuse and gambling problems were contributory factors in homelessness experienced by the first time by people in later life, following on from death of a close relative, relationship breakdown, accommodation being sold or needing repair, and rent arrears. The information and ideas in this briefing aim to support local authorities in protecting and improving their population’s health and wellbeing, and reducing health inequalities, by tackling homelessness and its causes.