Homelessness People with Substance Abuse in Haringey Essay

Aim of the study

This study is out to find out why substance abuse has turned out to be one of the leading factors of homelessness in Haringey

Objective of the Study

To examine how substance abuse leads to homelessness
To find out why the most prominent substance associated with homelessness.

To find out the correlation between homelessness and substance use
To find out the measures that have been put in place to reduce homelessness through substance use control.

Literature Review

In many years, the homeless level in Haringey has mainly been associated with the level of borough deprivation and poverty. In the year 2010/2011, the trend has changed as most of the households that were accepted were as a result of substances abuse with the majority of them being victims of alcohol and cocaine. Of these, 41 percent were from the black origin with those from Haringey making only 16 percent. Half of the households were observed to be from lost parents while approximately 60 being dependant children. This alarming situation in Haringey led to the Housing Advice and Options teams to come up with measures of preventing homeless in the year 2010 and this effort has been appreciated as to have a great impact on substance abuse (Brighton 2002, p. 67).

Substance abuse has remained one of the major homelessness pertinent. Substance abuse in the recent past has strongly been associated with social bonds breakdown and loss of housing. Recent Studies indicate that substances use has proved to be prevalent in the homeless population and is regarded as one of the main homelessness pertinent. A study conducted by Stahler and Cohen (2000) involving 1000 homeless participants showed that 60 percent of them were victims of illegal drugs recoding at least a single case each year, 50 percent confessed of using crack cocaine while 85 percent admitted to have used some drug type in their life (Brighton 2002, p. 78). In an effort to justify the relationship existing between homelessness and substance abuse, Wittman, carried out a study on 500 homeless individuals and the results indicated that 53 percent of these individuals had been diagnosed with substance abuse in one time of their lifetime with the most common substances being cocaine, cannabis and alcohol. 44 percent of the participants had received medication for substances at some point in their life. In a similar study, 550 homeless adults were examined from two different cities for substance use. The study concluded that 80 percent of the adults were found to depend on alcohol or other drugs or both. Stahler and Cohen (2000) conducted a study on female homeless as well as runaway adolescents. The research involving 350 participants indicated that 65 used marijuana, 23 used amphetamines while 20 used hallucinogenis (Home Office 2002, p. 81).

Alcoholism has been identified as being the most prevalent substance associated with homelessness. More than 40 percent of the homelessness reported cases in relation to substance use are mostly associated with alcoholism and a number of studies indicate that alcoholism and homelessness go hand in hand. A study conducted involving 1300 homeless individuals showed that 23 percent had alcohol related problems this year while 44 percent had alcohol related problems in their lifetime (Hebden 2002, p. 8)
More studies have been conducted in an effort to examine the co-relation between substance abuse among the youth and homelessness. A study carried out in Melbourne involving 162 homeless individuals involved examining the individuals at the onset of the study, after six month and later after a year (Salford University 2000, p. 2). The result of this study showed a low correlation between homelessness among the young and substance use. A good number of the participants were not involved in any substance use.

An article posted by Health Care for the Homeless Clinic’s Network on substance abuse and possible rehabilitation programs showed that most of the participants were homeless thus it was almost impossible for them to be treated as they went back to the same setup every evening. It was easier to treat groups of substance users who had been rehabilitated. Patients who were housed showed better progress and took a shorter time. Some shelters refused to take in individuals who were involved in substance and this increased the number of such individuals being homeless.

Research Methodology

Primary data in this study will be collected using face to face interview. The interview will involve random administering questionnaires to selected clients at St mungo’s in Haringey. Open ended questionnaires are the most suitable approach as its takes less time and it is easy to the respondents. The questions in the study will mainly concern the contribution of substances use to homelessness. At the end of the study, the collected data will be analyzed first through coding after which it will be triangulated. The data will be further analyzed using descriptive techniques like charts, tables and percentages. Secondary data will also be used and will mainly involve looking up for literature on substance use and the homelessness situation in the Haringey. This data will be of great assistance in analyzing and interpreting primary data.

Possible Research Problems

Time limitation will be the main problem in this study considering the face to face interviews required reaching out to respondents physically and interview each one of them one at a time. The number and size of the questionnaires will also consume more time while they are bei8ng administered. There are chances of negative response from the respondents as some clients may be unwilling to respond to some of the questions, or may just be reluctant following the sensitivity of the subject of study. These problems may result to the samples number not to be met.

Anticipated Research Outcome(s)

Substance abuse has emerged as one of the main contributors to homelessness pertinent in Haringey. This follows its strong association with loss of housing and breakdown in social bonds. According to the study, almost half of the homeless population in Haringey was found to have a history of substance use at one time of their lifetime. Some of the individuals were observed to engage in substance use after they were rendered homeless while some met the habit at the places where they seek shelter as the habit is prominent in such areas. Alcoholism has been the main substance leading to homeless in most society with Haringey witnessing the same experience.


Substance abuse often leads to homelessness. This follows the addictive disorders which end up disrupting family relationships and friends and also may lead to the victims of substance use to lose their jobs. For the case of victims who are already finding it hard to settle their bills, any addiction may lead them to loose their housing. In Haringey, substance abuse has been identified as the leading cause of homelessness. More than two-thirds of the homeless individuals admit that alcohol or other drugs were the main reason for their condition. Alcohol has been identified as the leading cause of homelessness among the drugs. In most cases, substance abuse has been identified to be a result of homelessness and not its cause. Most of the individuals who are homeless turn to alcohol and other drugs so as to cope with the situation they are in. Such individuals tend to seek temporary comfort or relief from their issues by engaging in substance abuse. Alcohol has been identified as the leading causes of homelessness among the drugs. However, the dependence on substance abuse exacerbates the problem they are in and reduces their ability to get out of the streets and gain employment stability.


  • Brighton, H., 2002. Strategy for Single Homeless People, Oxford University Press, London
  • Hebden, P., 2002. ‘Guidance Jeopardises drug rehabilitation, charity warns’, Inside Housing, 4:8
  • Home Office, 2002. Notes of Guidance: Amendment to Section 8 (d) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
  • Liebow, E., 2003. Tell Them Who I am, Penguin Books, New York
    Salford University, 2000. The Azuka, Befriending Scheme for Young Black Homeless People
    Stahler, J and Cohen, E, 2008 “ Homelessness and substance abuse in the 1990’s.” Contemporary Drug Problems, 22(2): 169-199,
  • Stahler, J. 2005. “Social intervention for homeless substances abusers: Evaluating treatment outcomes,” Journal of Addictive Disease. 14(4):15-24
  • Wittman, F. 1999. “Alcohol, architecture and homelessness, “Alcohol Health and Research World Spring, 74-79