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28 May 2012

The Disabilities Trust

Almost Half of Homeless People Say They Have a Brain Injury.

briefingBrain injury could affect almost half (48%) of homeless people and may contribute to the risk of people becoming homeless in the first place, says a unique and important new study carried-out by national charity The Disabilities Trust through its Foundation.

These injuries, unless properly diagnosed and treated, can bring communication, memory and behaviour problems leading to increased risk of family breakdown and loss of employment.

It is hoped the research will raise awareness among health, housing and care professionals about how someone's support needs will differ if they have a brain injury.

Unveiled in Leeds, the study asked 75 homeless men and 25 homeless women in the city whether they had experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI) and, if so, when the blow to the head occurred and how severe it was.

The findings were then compared to data from a group of people fromLeedswho were not homeless.

Forty eight percent of homeless people interviewed said they had had a TBI - over twice the number in the non-homeless group (21%).

  • Of the 48% of homeless people who said they had experienced a traumatic brain injury:
  • 90% of these reported that their first injury had been sustained prior to becoming homeless
  • over half (60%) said they had sustained more than one brain injury - over twice as many as in the control sample (24%)
  • the average age when they said they had experienced their first brain injury was 19.

Carried out by Professor Michael Oddy for the Trust's Foundation as part of a series of projects on the impact of 'hidden' disabilities, the study reflects the findings of a 2008 study of homeless people in Toronto, Canada, which found that 53% said that they had sustained a brain injury.

The Foundation today launched a free helpline for homeless people in the Leeds area with a brain injury, as part of ongoing support provided by the charity's specialist linkworker at the city's St George's Crypt homeless centre.

For more, including the briefing document, visit The Disabilities Trust Website