What is homelessness?
Being homeless is the very worst situation anyone can find themselves in. It is frightening and degrading, it causes significant harm to a person’s physical and mental health, it leaves people open to exploitation and abuse, but above all, homelessness is simply wrong. It is shocking that at the moment in the UK thousands of people are without a permanent, safe home. Many people are living in temporary accommodation or overcrowded and unsuitable housing; others are sofa surfing with friends and family; and worst of all, hundreds of people are sleeping on the streets in cities all around the country.
How many people are homeless?
It is impossible to accurately count the number of people who are homeless, as along with the visible street homeless people we see in our towns and cities, there are thousands of people who can be described as the ‘hidden homeless’ – people who are not on the streets but have no actual home. The number of people finding themselves in this situation is increasing every day and services are struggling to cope with the demand.
Reasons people become homeless
There is no single cause of homelessness but people do not become homeless deliberately - there are many complex reasons why people become homeless, and why many subsequently remain homeless, facing a very uncertain future.
Simon had to leave his family home after his relationship with his mum broke because he and his mum’s new partner didn’t get along. At just 18 years old and without employment, Simon found himself unable to afford his own home.
Mental health problems
Many people who ask us for help have mental health problems that they have not been able to get help with and this in turn has left them unable to cope with their daily lives and unable to sustain their accommodation.
People experiencing domestic abuse often stay in abusive and violent relationships because they have nowhere else to go. When the situation becomes intolerable their only option is to flee and often people end upon the streets
Lisa became homeless after her increasing dependence on Heroin meant that she was no longer able to remain in her job. Her addiction took over her life and she was unable to sustain her job or her home.