Homelessness is not a choice. But for many it is a reality. On any given night one in 200 people in Australia are homeless. And the problem is getting worse. In the last few years the number of people seeking help from homelessness services has been increasing faster than population growth. While there are many causes of homelessness, an acute shortage of affordable housing is pushing up the numbers. At a time when more than 105,000 people are homeless, crisis accommodation services are turning away more than half of all those seeking new accommodation, public housing stock has declined and there are rumours that the National Affordable Housing Agreement could be scrapped in May’s budget. In a three-part series Housing the Homeless, we explore the role housing, or a lack thereof, is having on homelessness and whether putting housing first could be the key to solving the problem. In this first episode, The Cause, we speak to sector experts and people who have experienced homelessness personally, to find out what is causing the problem.