Third of Scots believe homelessness caused by drugs and alcohol
The Salvation Army survey shows the reality is very different from the public's perceptions.
There is a huge difference between the perception of homeless people and the reality of their situation, a survey has found.
A third of Scots believe the main cause of homelessness is alcohol or drugs addiction, according to research from the Salvation Army.
But the Ipsos Mori poll found 43% of residents at a homeless shelter are there because of a relationship break down.
Just 10% give drugs or alcohol as the reason for their situation.
The charity says greater education is needed to change perceptions.
Howard Russell from The Salvation Army, said: "One of the key hurdles we face is around people's attitudes.
"The Ipsos MORI research has revealed the general public believe alcohol and drugs are the root cause of homelessness when, according to the people in our services, it's actually relationship breakdowns.
"While the general public appear to be aware that there is a variety of causes of homelessness, a third of Scots incorrectly perceive drug and alcohol addiction to be the main cause.
"Yes, alcohol and drugs may be a problem for people experiencing homelessness. But, as our survey of our lifehouse residents shows, these are rarely the cause. Instead it tends to be the breakdown of a relationship - something that can happen to anyone at any time.
"We believe educating the public on the reality of what causes homelessness is the way to overcome it."
The other main causes of homelessness are physical or mental health problems, job loss and debt.
Updates: Would you like STV’s latest news update in your inbox every morning? Choose from our range of regular e-newsletters here