Économie et Statistique n° 391-392 - 2006The Homeless
The influence of events during youth and of social heritage within the homeless support service user population
It is possible to draw links between the present situation of the people using homeless support services, their experiences during childhood and teenage years, and their original family context. The study takes into account the mobilisable resources of these people (their «capital») in order to understand how, beyond «life accidents», structural effects could be involved. The influence of these events and the different types of capital is studied through three characteristics which social action workers consider as being important: being in employment, having recently been attacked, and having recently made a social welfare application. Certain difficult childhood experiences have consequences for two of these characteristics: the probability of having been attacked and of having used a social welfare office is increased in cases of domestic violence, being fostered, the early death of a parent, or the economic poverty of the family of origin. A person's academic, social, economic and health capital influences the probability of having a job, and of having made a social welfare application. The effect of being fostered during youth on these two characteristics remains after other linked events have been taken into consideration. Within this sample, having been fostered is linked not only to domestic violence, the early death or serious illness of a parent, but also to financial difficulties of the family of origin. These results should be treated with caution as the study does not have a control sample.