What is homelessness?At worst, homelessness can mean sleepingrough on the streets and agencies report thatnearly 4000 people slept rough last year inLondon alone.However the problem of homelessness is muchbigger than that of rough sleeping.As the previous Government stated: "the vastmajority of homeless people are actually familiesor single people who are not literally sleeping onthe streets but living with relatives and friends orin temporary accommodation"
The five main categories of homeless people: • Statutory homeless • Hidden homeless • Rough sleeping • Squatting • Hostel accommodation Source & Further Information http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/homeless-def-numbers.html
Homeless people die 30years younger than thosewith a stable homeResearch for Crisis in 2011 found that the average life expectancy for a homelessperson is 47, compared to 77 for the rest of the population. The average for women iseven lower at 43.
Rough SleepingWhen most people think of ahomeless person they tend to thinkof someone sleeping rough on thestreets.Sleeping rough is a dangerous andtraumatising experience.People who sleep rough are 35times more likely to commit suicidethan the general population
The Autumn 2011 counts andestimates suggested there were2,181 rough sleepers on any onenight in EnglandThis is a rise of 23% (413)from Autumn 2010, when thefigure was 1,768
Rough Sleeping in LondonWhen an individual is contacted by outreachteams or other services working with roughsleepers in London, their details are enteredonto a database (CHAIN).According to CHAIN, 3975 people slept roughat some point in London during 2010/11, anincrease of 8 per cent on the previous yearstotal of 3673 and of more than a thousandsince 2005/06.These figures are also considerably higherthan the Governments official figure of 415.
Rough Sleeping in LondonCHAIN also tells us that:•59 per cent of rough sleepers in London are new, 27per cent have been rough sleeping for two or moreyears and 13 per cent have returned to rough sleepingafter a gap of a year or more.•87 per cent are male, 72 per cent are white.•59 per cent are aged between 25 and 45 years withonly 7 per cent under 25 and 35 per cent over 45.•Many have one or more support needs - 53 per centalcohol, 39 per cent drugs, 38 per cent mental health.•41 per cent have been in prison at some point, 13 percent in care and 6 per cent in the armed forces.
If you do not qualify for local authorityhousing assistance, if you are sleepingrough, staying in a hostel or in some form ofunsatisfactory or insecure accommodation,then you are one of the countless thousandsof hidden homeless people.
69,846 children in Englandhave to live in hostels, bedand breakfasts andrefuges. Figures from December 2011
The Hidden Homeless• Research for Crisis "The hidden truth about homelessness: Experiences of hidden homelessness in found that the majority of homeless people are hidden - that is living outside mainstream homelessness accommodation (such as hostels).• 62 per cent of those surveyed were hidden homeless on the day they were interviewed and 92 per cent had experienced hidden homelessness.• For every month that the respondents collectively spent in formal homelessness provision they had spent over three months sleeping rough, in squats, with friends or in other hidden situations.• By its very nature therefore, it is extremely difficult to accurately estimate the size of the homeless population. So perhaps the most accurate statement might be to say that there are countless thousands of hidden homeless people throughout Britain.
The Causes and Consequences of HomelessnessMost common causes for male homelessness:•Relationship breakdown•Substance misuse•Leaving an institution (prison, hospital)•Escaping a violent relationshipMost common causes for female homelessness:•Physical or mental health problems•Escapting a violent relationshipThe consequences can be brutal•Homelessness damages peoples capability through loss of skills,through an inability to think about employment whilst worryingabout housing, and through their health becoming impaired whilsthomeless•One in four ex-homeless people also find themselves unable tosustain a tenancy - loneliness & isolation are the main causes, oftencompounded by lack of choice about where they can live.•Homelessness also damages peoples resilience, self-esteem andself-confidence.
The national charity for single homeless people http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/campaigns.html
The housing and homelessness charity http://england.shelter.org.uk/campaigns
The Big Issue Foundation is a national charitywhich connects vendors with the vital supportand solutions that enable them to rebuild theirlives and journey away from homelessness. http://www.bigissue.org.uk/
Suggested Internet Links• Homelessness Statistics – http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/homeless-def-numbers.html• Success Stories from Crisis – http://www.crisis.org.uk/success_stories.php