Family homelessness is the phenomenon of whole family units experiencing homelessness. In some Western countries, such as the United States, family homelessness is a new form of poverty, and a fast growing group of the homelessness population. Some American researchers argue that family homelessness is the inevitable result of imbalanced “low-income housing ratio” where there are more low-income households than there are low-cost housing units. Homeless families are generally thought to be headed by women. In the United States, homeless families make up about a third of all homeless people in the country.
While scholars differ on conceptualizations of homelessness, whether it is a just temporary state through which people pass or if it is a permanent trait that emanates from individual characteristics, studies indicate for families, homelessness is a temporary state that is often resolved by the provision of subsidized housing. Similarly, other studies have found that the majority of homeless families stay in homeless shelters for relatively brief periods of time. These families then exit and do not return. About 20 percent have longer stays in shelters, but only a small number of families have repeat stays.
Social isolation is thought to be more a consequence than a cause of family homelessness.
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