Social and economic factors that have been associated with homelessness include poverty, reduction in the number of available low-income housing units, real dollar decreases in public assistance to low-income families, and reductions in demand for unskilled labor.
‘Homelessness’ is usually defined not exactly clearly, and the determining criterion is usually the absence of ‘safe’ or ‘permanent’ dwelling, but even this is ambiguous. "Many people live in intermediate or marginally secure accommodation, such as hostels or hotels" (Homelessness factfile, 2003,par.2), and in the homes of their friends and relatives as guests or lodgers. When all of them are satisfied with the state of affairs, the dwelling is reliable. If there happen any disagreements, the ‘guest’ might be forced to leave the accomodation. Identifying whether an individual in dwelling is housed or homeless is related to the permanence of the state of affeirs and on the control and rights this individual had over this dwelling. In general, it is accepted that those who sleep in the streets or stay in hostels or ‘bad and breakfast’ hotels are homeless, but this is a final point of agreement. Furthermore, other categories of people who have no stable housing (for instance, asylum seekers, imprisoned people, those who have to stay at the hospital, those, who live in overcrowded household, women, who have fled domestic violence) are extremelydifficult to define the housing status. A single definition is hardly possible, so it was accepted that homeless people would be divided into two groups:
1. Statutory homeless people. Local administrations are obliged to examine applicants for housing according to homelessness legislation and to determine whether they are homeless deliberately or unintentionally. and whether they fit the standard for ‘priority housing need’. The authorities are obliged to divide them into following groups: ‘statutory’ and ‘nonstatutory’ homeless citizens. All involuntarily homeless citizens who have dependent children or dependent relatives with serious ailments are to be given priority status for housing, as they are viewed as an extremely vulnerable group.
2. Non-statutory homeless people, who are ‘not recognised by local authorities as homeless and in priority need of housing. Some have not applied to be rehoused, while others have had their application refused. Most are single and without dependent children, and so have come to be known as ‘single homeless people’ (Homelessness factfile, 2003,par.2).
The 2003 survey undertaken in New York City was planned to find out reasons for homelessness most important to respondents at the time of the study. The questionnaire did not purposely ask about larger social problems, even though some respondents considered it necessary to refer to those in the verbatim explanations. The survey did identify a wide range of possible causes, including a lot of sensitive individual matters. on the empirically based hypothesis that individual usually react to direct questions with direct and sincere responses. As a result, the answers demonstrated a picture of the multifaceted and numerous layers of personal problems and experiences that may call for supporting services. These results should improve, not substitute, nationwide research (New York City Report, 2004, par.3) and decision-making on