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Northern Arizona University



Known reasons for becoming homeless...

Economics Layoffs, lack of reasonable employment, high costs of living, lack of affordable housing, poor financial planning, skewed financial expectations, and instances of crises and emergency (the onset of a serious health issue for the main earner of a family, for instance).

Deinstitutionalization This is a source of some debate. One side states that policies that either remove those institutionalized or restrict institutionalization contribute to homelessness. The other side insists that "the mental health problems of many homeless individuals are the result of stresses of homelessness and occurred after individuals became homeless." It is entirely reasonable to suppose that the reasons of both sides contribute equally to the combination of mental illness among homeless individuals.

Personal Issues Alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, and difficulties with relationships (mainly, family issues). Close support networks can be lost when these issues arise in a family. Often, all three personal issues occur, in the same succession laid out above. For instance, an individual who heavily abuses alcohol and/or drugs may be likely to be domestically violent, which in turn would sever many relationships in the family structure (both internal and external to the immediate household).


Tim Salam and Jessica Rice