Addiction and Homelessness are two of the biggest problem in society. The connection between addiction and homelessness is multifaceted, but addiction is sometimes the cause of being homeless. For anyone abusing a substance, it is a well-known fact that through time their relationships with their families and loved ones will get tainted and destroyed. For someone who cannot even pay their bills and end up prioritizing substance abuse, they will inevitably lose their home, resulting in homelessness.

Furthermore, the probability of a homeless person to stop abusing drugs and or alcohol is very slim. For many homeless people, their priority is to survive in the street every day and not actually get out of their situation. Of course, there are people who want to get out but have very little means of doing so. But searching for something to eat, a place to rest, and something to hydrate is far more important than seeking help for their addiction.

Because of the lack of health assistance, homeless people use street drugs as an alternative to the medicine prescribed by doctors because of their lack of finances. To survive, one must think of their welfare even if their lives are on the line.

What is Homelessness?

Homelessness is a temporary circumstance a person is facing. It is not something a person should be judged for. Anyone can be homeless, and they can be homeless for a variety of different reasons.

Forms of Homelessness

Listed below are forms of homelessness:


Someone who lives in an abandoned building, car, or in the streets is considered unsheltered. This is the kind of homeless person you may typically encounter on the streets.


Someone who lives in the aid of an emergency shelter or transitional housing is called sheltered. They are still homeless, but they have a safe place where they can sleep during night time.

Doubled Up

Temporarily resides at a relative or a friend is called doubled up.

Addiction to Homelessness

As explained above, substance abuse is often seen in someone that is homeless. But substance abuse is not always the cause of homelessness. Sometimes it occurs after or when a person becomes homeless. We should not forget that the actual reason for homelessness is the incapability of a person to sustain his needs such as shelter and food.

Still, substance abuse can hamper once a willingness to work and the capability of a person to perform well in his or her job. Without work, a person can experience difficulty in paying his/her bills and will result in their homestead being taken away.

Health and Homelessness

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, about two-thirds of homeless people suffer from primary substance use disorder and other chronic diseases. People experiencing other serious mental health problems are also present in the homeless population.

Due to mental health problems, searching for a job and other means of income become much more difficult. Thus, maintaining and obtaining a comfortable life will be more difficult. Below are some of the mental issues that often affect the homeless population.

Mood Disorder

Mood disorder affects a person’s ability to think and express their emotions properly. Many develop things like depression and anxiety, which they may try to cope with using substances.


Schizophrenia is a disorder that removes a person from reality and causes them to experience paranoia, delusional beliefs, and hallucinations.

Personality Disorder

This disorder removes the ability to trust other people and causes a person to experience increased suspicion. It also causes a person to avoid relationships, develop paranoia, and lose grasp on reality.

Anxiety Disorder

The fear of social interaction, post-traumatic disorder, panic disorder, and anxiety is are all extremely present in the homeless population.

Common Drugs Used by Homeless Persons

The most common substances abused by a homeless person are heroin and alcohol. They are widely distributed and are very inexpensive, making it easy for homeless individuals to use.

Substance Use and Homelessness

People who are dependent on alcohol have likely started their addiction at a very young age. They may have become dependent on alcohol when they were young and the addiction easily traveled over to their adulthood. While people think poverty is one reason for homelessness, another one is abuse. People who are abused at home tend to escape their life at an early age, making it hard to provide for oneself, that is why they choose to live on the street.

For some, buying alcohol is more important than having a decent house to sleep in. Often times, these people do not see how far gone they are in addiction; not realizing their choice of substances over a comfortable home is a telltale sign of addiction.

Barriers to Treatment

The problem is how a homeless person stops abusing a substance. It is also a challenge because a person who does not have everything in the world needs to love himself to heal and be treated. Listed are some of the barriers a homeless person encountered before treatment.

Lack of Health Insurance

For homeless people, paying insurance is not in their list of priorities. Thus, paying for rehabilitation is virtually impossible. With a lack of health insurance, the person would need to pay out of pocket and if they are homeless, chances are they do not have the finances to do so.


For someone that has been homeless for a while, that lifestyle may be all they know. Strange as it may sound, this lifestyle could feel comfortable to some people.

Not Enough Knowledge About the Treatment

People who are homeless suffer from anxiety and depression. If fear sparks among them they will resist help right before you ask them. The lack of knowledge of treatment makes them fear the process.

When a homeless person starts his treatment there is a big possibility that they cannot sustain the program for someone who is emotionally and mentally unstable, quitting and not following the treatment may lead right into relapse. They may try to seek comfort in their old habits, furthering their dependence on substances.

Solution for Addiction and Homelessness

Homeless people should be given better chances of making a better life for themselves. They are one of the biggest problems this world faces, it would be smart to create affordable treatment options for these people so they can get off the streets. Better programs to help homeless individuals could help get these people off the streets, off substances, and into homes. Housing assistance could also help. More affordable living for individuals with lower incomes could help get these people off the streets. Another way to help homeless people is by giving them more opportunities to make money. Giving them a chance at getting jobs could help them make money and save up for housing, food, clothes, treatment, etc.

People should consider helping the homeless; they are lost and need help. A simple gesture can mean so much to them. An unstable person only needs someone to listen to them. People should always be kind to one another, let’s work together to create a society free of homelessness and addiction.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center® holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.