Why We Do It
It is reported that nearly 3500 people slept rough (were ‘street homeless’) last year in London alone.
However the problem of homelessness is much bigger than rough sleeping. Some groups
who are not street homeless yet in dire need are those who are:
Homelesslink’s Survey of Needs and Provision showed that there are approximately 43,000 people living in hostels and other supported accommodation for homeless people.
Besides this, there are people who do not show up in any official figures.
People who choose to live in a squat are legally classed as homeless because they don’t have a legal right to live anywhere.
Squatters live with the threat of being evicted at any time. In most cases the landlord of a squatted property doesn’t have to get a court order first.
If a court order is needed, the landlord can apply for one at any time and doesn’t have to give the squatters any notice. In most cases the court will automatically give her/him the right to get back into their property.
Staying on a friends sofa or floor is really only a short term solution and could affect the friendship in the longer term. Most people who stay with friends are classed as ‘excluded occupiers’ which means that they can be evicted at very short notice.
When people find themselves in this situation, they may be entitled to help from their local council. However, many don’t get the help they need and will often end up sleeping rough or staying in insecure accommodation.
Homelessness can affect anyone, not just alcoholics, drug users and those with mental health difficulties. Most UK men cited
relationship breakdowns, substance misuse and leaving an institution (prison, care, hospital)
as the main reasons for homelessness in a recent survey.
Homelessness can affect anyone, not just alcoholics, drug users and the mentally ill. Most UK men cited relationship breakdowns, substance misuse and leaving an institution (prison, care, hospital) as the main reasons for homelessness in a recent survey.
In the survey, carried out by Crisis, into why people became homeless, UK women blamed physical or mental health problems and escaping a violent relationship as the main triggers. This survey is only a snapshot of why people become homeless. For many homeless people, the reasons for their plight are complex and overlapping.
Some people are at more risk of becoming homeless than others because they have specific support needs. To see why people are more likely to become homeless, view the points to the right.
Some external factors which contribute to homelessness include shortages in affordable accommodation, high unemployment, low incomes, debt, an inefficient welfare benefits system and migration.
Homelessness wrecks a persons self-esteem, confidence and resilience. It leads to a loss
of identity, sense of belonging and results in many homeless people feeling ‘worthless’.
Some of the most common effects of homelessness include:
Approximately one third of all homeless people have some form of mental illness. Half of them experience hopelessness and despair because of their conditions. Living in overcrowded, chaotic and unhealthy environments plus the stigma of being homeless/poor all result in the worsening of their mental health.
Sleeping is difficult due to the cold and noise. Sleep disorders cause irritability, apathy and behavioural impairments.
A high percentage of homeless people have dental problems and suffer from malnourishment, which increases the risk of infectious diseases and gastrointestinal disorders.
The risk of developing or the worsening of an already addiction.
Due to insufficient protection from harsh weather.
A rough sleeper is 150 times more likely to be assaulted than a member of the general public.
A homeless person is more likely to develop skin problems as a result of malnourishment, inappropriate footwear, cuts and dirty clothing.