What happened with the homeless during economical crisis? Evolution of the prevalence of homelessness in north-Catalonia (2006–2015)

What happened with the homeless during economical crisis? Evolution of the prevalence of homelessness in north-Catalonia (2006–2015)

Introduction

There exists a great number of empirical studies which refer as causes of homelessness not only individual factors such as mental disorders or addictions, but also structural factors such as poverty rates or unemployment.

Objective

To describe the evolution of the prevalence of homelessness in Girona from 2006 to 2015, and compare it with the evolution of unemployment in the same region.

Methods

The absolute number of homelessness is obtained from the official records in the city of Girona, which include the data of the open medium intervention team, the local police, and the specific municipal hostel. The rates are calculated on the annual totals of population. Correlations are used to compare quantitative variables.

Results

The yearly homelessness rates increased progressively from 2006 to 2014, the year in which they began to decrease. Similarly, unemployment both in Spain and in the city of Girona in particular evolves in a similar way, with the burden of the worldwide economic crisis. There exists a positive correlation between the evolution of homelessness in Girona and unemployment both in Spain (r =  9.4, P < .001) and in Girona (r =  9.5, P < .001).

Conclusion

The effect of the economic crisis affects the people who are socially excluded in a direct way. These results prompt the investigation of the causes of homelessness, which in many cases are attributed to the responsibility of the individuals.

JOURNAL: European Psychiatry
VOLUME: 41
PAGES: S676–S677
PUBLICATION DATE: 2017