One of the most nagging social problems is homelessness – a phenomenon when a person is deprived of the ability to satisfy one’s basic need for shelter. This paper will analyze the existence of homelessness in the United Kingdom, provide the current statistical data, give a brief review of the governmental treatment of the problem and carefully examine the factors that contribute to its emergence from a sociological point of view.
It must be noted that on the state of July 2014 there were 27,970 applications for housing assistance according to the 1996 Housing Act (“Statutory Homelessness”, 2014). In spite of the fact that this figure provides with in the ability to estimate the number of registered homeless people, the number of those who did not apply for assistance could not be much higher. That is why for the purposes of this paper, only those who made an application for housing assistance will be considered. Thus, out of the above mentioned number, 13,985 households were found to be eligible for a main homelessness duty that is owed by the government. Despite the fact that 6713 households made an application, they were not regarded as homeless, so they were denied of governmental assistance; nevertheless, the conditions of living for them could still be harsh. There was another group which consisted of 5035 households that were recognized as homeless, but were not in priority need; so, they had to wait their queue. Furthermore, there was a small number of households, namely 2238 of them, who were regarded as intentionally homeless, but accepted the assistance because of being in priority need group.
The local authorities in the United Kingdom are obliged to help people who may be facing the risk of homelessness in many different ways. On the one hand, they might provide effective advice so that the citizens would be able to avoid losing their homes.