Relationship breakdown leads more people to homelessness now than eight years ago, a report launched today at the House of Commons has revealed.
In a survey, carried out by charity for homeless people St Mungo’s, the number of people citing relationship breakdown as one of the triggers of homelessness rose from 12.9% in 1999 to 41% in 2007.
Out of the 1,000 residents who took part in St Mungo’s annual needs survey, 47% said they would like to have more regular contact with their family.
One fifth of residents said they had had no contact with their family for over six months. However, the charity estimates this number is higher as 35% of respondents refused to answer this specific question.
To address this issue, St Mungo’s and Relate, a relationship support agency, set up a joint initiative to help homeless people develop their relationship skills.
The Relationship and Parenting Skills Project launched in April 2005, under government funding, but is now under threat if further funding is not secured after March 2008.
Charles Fraser CBE, chief executive of St Mungo’s said: “Many of us take for granted that we have strong, loving families who support us through the difficult times. If we, and other organisations like us, support homeless men and women to rebuild their family ties we can help to prevent them returning to the street.”
One resident who used the service, Angela Estridge, said: “The counselling has really shown me that in order to build relationships with other people I need to look after myself.”
The charity found that 85% of people who used the service said they had found it useful.