Living on the Streets: When Addiction Leads to Homelessness for Families

Contributed by: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC for Addiction Hope

The consequences of substance abuse and drug or alcohol addiction are detrimental. Many individuals may not fully be aware of how their addiction problem will impact them or their loved ones. In other situations, a family member with an addiction problem may attempt to maintain their habits and behaviors in secret in an attempt to minimize the destruction that is unfolding.

One of the harmful ways in which addiction impacts an individual and their family is through financial consequences. Often times, a person will exploit their personal and family financial obligations in order to fulfill their own addiction.

Whether this involves using family finances to purchase drugs or alcohol, or being unable to work due to the physical effects of substance abuse, monetary funds can quickly be unavailable for family needs.

When Finances Are Depleted

What happens when finances have become depleted as a result of substance abuse? This can jeopardize a family’s living situation if funds are unavailable to pay for rent or mortgage.

Unfortunately, some families may find that they are evicted from their home as a result of being unable to keep up with their bills and home payments, forcing undesirable living situations, such as homelessness.

Hope to Get Back on Track

Perhaps you or someone you care for has been living on the streets due to financial negligence caused by substance abuse. If you or your family has been forced into homelessness because of an addiction, it is important for you to know that there is hope and ways to get your family back on your feet.

The highest priority is to ensure that you and your family members are in a safe place and out of harm’s way, such as a shelter, refuge, or church. These temporary housing locations can keep your family stable during such uncertain times and even provide services, such as food, clothing, laundry/bathing, medical attention, and case management.

Addressing the Root of the Problem

It is also crucial to address the root of the problem, which is the addiction itself. This begins by connecting to treatment options that can help you or your loved one heal and recover from drug or alcohol abuse and address the many complex issues that may have resulted from the addiction.

The consequences from addiction will only intensify if the core issues are not addressed, so take the necessary steps to become involved in a treatment program.

Homelessness is but one of the many hardships that can result from addiction, but your family does not have to struggle through this alone. There are many programs and facilities that can assist your family through this difficult time and help you piece your lives back together.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What has been your experience with homelessness and addiction, where did you find support?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on December 5th, 2014
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