Cannabis and Family Breakdown Main Causes For Homelessness

Media Release 28 November 2018 
A new study examining why people become homeless has found that daily marijuana use significantly increases men’s likelihood of becoming homeless, and that the other key factor for both men and women is parental separation.

The Melbourne University research published by the Royal Statistical Society found that for men, using cannabis daily increases their likelihood of becoming homeless by age 30 by 7-14 percentage points.

But they also found that the effect of parental separation on homelessness is substantial for both genders – six times that of drug use across both men and women. Of those who have experienced homelessness, 62% of respondents cite family breakdown or conflict as the main reason for becoming homeless for the first time.

The researchers say; “Our research suggests that early interventions to reduce cannabis use may be effective in reducing the number of boys and young men who become homeless.”

They also add “policy interventions supporting the housing needs of families that break down, can effectively reduce the transitions of children and young adults into homelessness, possibly breaking the path into lifelong extreme disadvantage.”

“Government policy should promote marriage and the strong formation of families – and offer support and free counselling to families where there is potential conflict and breakdown. Children being raised by their married biological parents are by far the safest from abuse, poverty, and imprisonment – and so too are the adults. We can now add protection from homelessness to the list,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“But most importantly, any attempts to legalise marijuana will only worsen the social problems we are facing around homelessness – especially for men. We should be doing everything we can to promote a drug-free culture and reject any liberalising of the law or promotion of a drug-friendly culture.”