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The ‘wicked problem’ of homelessness

Thursday, 2 July, 2020

What does it mean and what can you do?

A ‘wicked problem’ has lots of causes. It’s a problem that is difficult to describe and doesn’t have a simple solution. It can’t be solved by using standard techniques… in fact, doing things the old way might even make the problem worse.1  

Homelessness fits into this description, it’s messy and it’s complicated, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be solved.  

It does, however, require fresh thinking and applying new approaches to old issues. 

People often think that homelessness could be solved by building more accommodation. In part that’s true, physical buildings and housing are important – but so is building up a person and their self-belief. 

Often our clients have complicated backgrounds with issues that need untangling before they can begin to recover from homelessness. A person recovering from alcoholism and an eating disorder might require a very different approach to someone fleeing from an abusive relationship. We have expertise to deal with these issues and to put support plans in place. It’s impossible to treat homelessness as a single issue, after all, these are human beings we are dealing with. 

So what can you do? 

As always, we rely on your donations to keep doing the work that we do; however, the issues within the wicked problem of homelessness can also be helped by writing to your local MP.  

When it comes to changing the system and keeping the issue of homelessness high on the Government’s agenda, your MP can raise the important questions in parliament to make changes happen.  

You can find out who your local MP is by going to this website. We have written a template for you that you can use when contacting your MP, but you can tailor it to how you see fit. Download the template here.  

Keep the conversation going by following us on social media, donating through our page, and by commenting on the work we do – the more we talk, the more we can change. 



1  https://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/wicked-problem/about/What-is-a-wicked-problem

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