The legal definition of homelessness is based on the principles that the person/household either lacks a 'licence to occupy' a home or it is not reasonable for them to have to occupy their current home. Determination of both of these issues is a matter of judgement. The eighth graph lists a numbers of groups within the English population who arguably both of these conditions and thus could be considered to be effectively homeless. All the estimates are 'point in time' estimates, with the estimates shown separately for households with and without dependent children. The groups are:
Homelessness is often assumed to be an urban phenomenon because homeless people are more numerous, more geographically concentrated, and more visible in urban areas. However, people experience the same difficulties associated with homelessness and housing distress in America's small towns and rural areas as they do in urban areas.
In urban areas, estimates commonly rely on counts of persons using services. However, by this measure, homeless persons in rural areas are likely substantially under-counted due to the lack of rural service sites, the difficulty capturing persons who do not use homeless services, the limited number of researchers working in rural communities, and the minimal incentive for rural providers to collect data on their clients.
Rural homelessness, like urban homelessness, is the result of poverty and a lack of affordable housing, and research has shown :