Homelessness has been an important and widely debated issue in Britain (Anderson, 1994; Fitzpatrick, Kemp, & Klinker, 2000; Pleace & Quilgars, this issue).

As such, there are many possible approaches to conceptualizing the causes of homelessness, and many potential levels for analysis.

In presenting an overview of the causes of homelessness in the UK, it is essential to examine homelessness as a function of gaining access to ade- quate, affordable housing, and any necessary social support needed to ensure the success of the tenancy.

Also, because the nature and relationship between policy, welfare and the citizen is complex, the root causes of homelessness cannot be simplistically isolated from its effects, nor can they be partitioned out from the operation of the housing and welfare systems.

To address this concern, prior to developing a dynamic analysis (i.e. taking account of change, by using longitudinal rather than cross-sectional designs) of the causes of homelessness

this article considers some established theories of the welfare state and their application to this outcome.

These theories underpin the process and shed light on what we know about the causes of homelessness, and where we are going in terms of conceptualizing ‘what homelessness is’, and how to tailor our interventions and responses, accordingly.

This article aims to provide an overview of the literature, drawing on both theory and policy perspectives for exploring causes in the UK.

Definitions of Homelessness
Regional Issues in Defining Homelessness:
Devolved Government
Theories About the Causes of Homelessness, Welfare and the State
Causes of Homelessness: National Studies of Homelessness in the Uk
Empowerment, Using Poverty Theories and Drawing Links with Homelessness
- Contemporary Perspective
- Historical Perspective
Developing a Dynamic Analysis
- Homelessness in the Uk (1979–1997)
Survey Outcomes
Homelessness in the Uk 1997–2002: Refining the Analysis
Redefining Structural Causes of Homelessness: Not Just Housing?
Pathways: a Model for Explaining the Causes of Homelessness
- Youth Homelessness
- Adult and Later Life Homelessness
- General Information on Pathways
Other Factors Effecting Pathways
- Gender
- Ethnicity
- Rooflessness
- Length of Time Spent Homeless
- Repeat Homelessness
- Policy Adopting a Pathways Approach?
- Causes and Research
- Causes and Policy

This notion was further developed by Silver (1994), positing a three-fold typology of paradigms for social exclusion, which distinguished between different theoretical perspec- tives, political ideologies and national discourses.

Silver viewed the discourse on social exclusion as a window, through which to view political cultures.

Three paradigms of soli- darity, specialization and monopoly were associated with republicanism, liberalism and social democracy, respectively.

Silver argued that the three paradigms of social exclusion should not be confused with institutional classifications such as Esping-Andersen’s wel- fare state regimes as the latter were influenced by more than one paradigm over a long period of time (Silver, 1994).

However, Cousins (1998) argued that Silver’s typology focused on the relationship between individuals and society and could, therefore, be linked to the debate on welfare regimes.

For example, Cousins characterized France as an example of the solidarity para- digm, the UK as the specialization paradigm and Sweden as following the monopoly model (Cousins, 1998).