Rough sleeping is the side of homelessness that we can see, but the majority of homelessness remains hidden. Latest Government figures place around 3000 people as sleeping rough in England, yet there are currently around 96,060 households in temporary accommodation alone.
Those experiencing hidden homelessness live out of sight in hostels, squats, B&Bs and other forms of temporary accommodation; some sofa surf with friends or family.
Although they have a roof over their head, people living in temporary accommodation are homeless because they don’t have access to safe, secure and settled housing of their own.
A home is more than shelter, it’s a place of safety, calm and comfort - somewhere that is yours. Living in a B&B, sleeping on someone’s floor, or in a hostel denies people privacy and a chance to feel safe and secure.
Some causes of hidden homelessness
- Childhood trauma
- Rising house prices
- Lack of social housing
- Job loss
- Traumatic life events
- Breakdown of family relations
- Domestic abuse and other forms of abuse
- Health issues
- Shortage of public services
- Leaving prison or the army without a home
While it is technically true that homelessness could happen to anyone, it’s important to emphasise that poverty dramatically increases the likelihood of someone falling into homelessness.
Someone who comes from a family who have experienced poverty is far more likely to become homeless than someone who was raised in a middle class family. Joseph Rowntree Foundation defines poverty as: