Trauma is woven through the narrative of homelessness.


Fill in the missing words in this diagram to learn about many of the ways in which trauma and homelessness are linked. 

Studies show that if you experience four or more ACEs in childhood, you are potentially more high-risk to experience homelessness as an adult32Significant childhood adversity linked to increased risk of homelessness .

It is important to remember that personal trauma and ACEs can be heightened by social and systematic collective traumas. Someone could have a high ACE score and the caregivers they had when they were younger provided the best for them with the resources available to them – but they were failed by the systems in place such as:


Years of governmental underfunding and budget cuts in support services mean that people do not get the support that they require. This can heighten people’s feelings of isolation, loneliness and rejection in society33Impact of UK Welfare Cuts  .


Insufficient investment in creating affordable and suitable housing ensures that people have to live in conditions that do not serve them and can heighten personal traumas34Housing models and access .


Changes to the Universal Credit and benefit system have ensured that people receive less than they need to live and digitally exclude the most marginalised in society further othering and re-traumatising people35Digital Exclusion is creating a two tier system for people claiming benefits .


Lack of meaningful and skilled employment means that some people are working on contracts with little to no security or benefits and have to work paycheck-to-paycheck. This financial insecurity seeps into other traumas and encourages feelings of worthlessness and isolation from society as people may not have disposable income to participate in what they see as part of culture norms36Fair Work Action Plan 2022 and Anti-Racist Employment Strategy 2022: equality impact assessment .


Read the story of the person's journey and move the person and the description into the correct chronological order to support your understanding of ACEs and how they can be linked to homelessness.  

This persons mental health conditions started from a young age. They had low self esteem and feelings of worthlessness due to the verbal abuse they experienced from their caregivers. The tense atmosphere in their home meant that the person started to feel stressed, anxious and had issues sleeping. Due to this, their school work deteriorated and teachers were annoyed that they were not completing their homework and started to exclude them from lessons. This marginalisation meant that they became withdrawn, depressed and their peers bullied them for being different. In an attempt to disengage from these feelings, the person left school early and started work in a low paid, unskilled job so that they could escape from their home and school life.

The person started to drink alcohol to dissociate from feelings of neglect, isolation and rejection from their caregivers, school life and peer group. These feelings of marginalisation continue and they start to use drugs to further dissociate. They are unable to remain employed and do not have a close network of people to support them and no one available in their life to suggest support services to attend. They were not encouraged to attend the doctors surgery when they were younger and do not realise that this is an avenue available to them.