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Homelessness is defined more widely than sleeping rough on the streets and includes those living in shelters, temporary accommodation, ‘sofa surfing’ with friends or relatives or living in squats. Individuals may also be statutorily homeless if they meet specific legislative criteria. Individual, interpersonal and structural factors play a role in the cause of homelessness.

This House of Lords Library briefing provides information about homelessness under a wide definition ranging from statutory homelessness, rough sleeping and ‘hidden homelessness’. Referring to recent research, it also summarises information about youth homelessness, including causes and statistics, and considers some of the general causes of homelessness with reference to individual, interpersonal and structural factors. Finally, with the Government stating on 17 December 2015 that they were considering their options, including legislation, in relation to homelessness, the briefing highlights an independent review of homelessness legislation in England that proposes amendments to current legislation in light of changes brought in in Scotland and Wales.

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