Causes of Homelessness

Each of us has personal resources to draw on in order to function in society. Homelessness results from a deficit in one or more of the three personal resources listed below. In order to provide an appropriate response that will be beneficial in helping the person find their way out of homelessness, we first have to recognize where that deficit is.

Personal Resources:

Relational Resources: 

Significant people in a person’s life who become a support system when times get tough are the person’s relational resources. These are parents, family or friends with whom the person has a healthy, positive relationship. The potential for homelessness increases dramatically when relational resources are lacking.

Inner Resources: 

The unique blend of individual characteristics that makes each person one-of-a-kind are inner resources. Temperament, IQ, morals, values, ethics are just a few of these resources. When inner resources are damaged or weak as a result of poor relational resources, then homelessness becomes inevitable.

Physical Resources: 

The assets that a person owns and has control of—such as material possessions, savings accounts, insurance and the like—are physical resources. The amount of physical resources that each person has is determined largely by the quality of their relational and inner resources. The lack of physical resources can appear to be the cause of homelessness, but is, instead, the outcome of faulty relational and/or inner resources.

Outside Resources:

Any type of aid that is provided to a person by non-related sources such as government agencies, non-profit agencies or churches is an outside resource. Those facing homelessness require outside resources to regain stability. Yet, if a large amount of physical resources is provided without addressing the person’s inner and relational resources, then outside resources become an enabling factor that diminishes the person’s will to move toward stability.