Before I begin to explore homelessness, I want to start thinking about the subject creatively. To start with, I’m going to use an exercise from How to Have Great Ideas: A Guide to Creative Thinking by John Ingledew. My plan is to do one of these exercises for each of my starting points.



“The action of altering how something is viewed can reveal new possibilities and ideas. This can be achieved by seeking every possible viewpoint and by shifting context – by taking things from their usual home and placing them somewhere completely different.”

The photo on the left is of my keyboard, the photo on the right is the same keyboard but with the home key removed and placed beside it. These photos aim to create a visual metaphor for homelessness.

Scratching The Surface

The latest government statistics show that the number of people sleeping rough in the UK has been increasing year on year since 2010. Prior to 2010 all forms of homelessness had been steadily declining. 2010 was a turning point, it would be interesting to find out what caused this.

Up to 70% of homeless people have some form of mental-health problem

Shelter is the largest homeless charity in the UK. Centrepoint focus on helping young people who find themselves homeless.

Causes Of Homelessness

Structural Factors:

  • Lack of affordable housing.
  • Lack of income.
  • Lack of jobs.
  • Problems with healthcare.
  • Discrimination.

System Failures:

  • Lack of support for immigrants or refugees.
  • Difficult transitions from child welfare.
  • Inadequate discharge planning for people leaving hospitals, corrections and mental health and addiction facilities.

Individual and relational:

  • Traumatic events.
  • Personal health issues – including struggles with addiction and mental health.
  • Family violence and abuse.
  • Other people’s addiction or mental health issues.
  • Extreme poverty.
  • For young people this often includes problems with their family accepting their gender identity or sexual orientation.


Matthew’s Story

“I’ve been homeless 18, 19 months and just in Coventry, which is a fairly small place, there’s been four people that have died. In one year.” – Matthew

Shelter Manchester

“For me, life is very very heavy.” – Lukasz

Cognitive Dissonance