Most people think of debt as the result of an individual's bad choices or financial irresponsibility. However, research by Professor Katherine Brickell, Professor Mel Nowicki and Shared Health Foundation shows us that for many people, debt is a symptom of the systematic rollback in state support and a major cause and perpetuator of homelessness.
The report, “The Debt Trap”, shows how women in temporary accommodation (TA) are driven into debt in order to stay afloat and cover their essentials such as food, heating, travel and rent. This “debt burden” pushes women and their families into homelessness, traps them in TA and follows them even as they move on from homelessness. Drawing from the findings of this report, we will explain why debt is a structural rather than an individual failure.