Many Homeless ‘are Mentally ill’

The number of homeless people suffering from mental illness has more than doubled in the past 15 years, new figures show. The percentage of homeless people judged to be homeless and vulnerable due to mental illness or disability rose from 3.25% in 1991 to 7.8% in 2006 – a rise of 3,040 people. In all, some 93,980 people were classified as unintentionally homeless in 2005-06 – a fall of almost 30% on the 132,280 recorded in 1991-2. But the number of mentally ill people amongst them rose from 4,300 to 7,340 over the same period.

The official figures were obtained from the Department of Communities and Local Government in response to a parliamentary question from Liberal Democrat housing spokesman Dan Rogerson.

He said: “The increasingly widespread problem of mental illness particularly affects society’s most vulnerable groups.These figures show that we are failing to provide decent housing to the people who are most in need of support.”

“It is extremely difficult to overcome mental illness without the security of living in a permanent home. The Government must act to make sure that people with mental health problems are given the support and housing they desperately need.”