Did you know that thousands of people affected by homelessness don’t show up in official figures?

Hidden homelessness is a growing problem in the UK. A recent study carried out by national charity Crisis found that over 60% of single homeless people are not recognised officially as such.

This is because after finding themselves in a homeless situation, they are unable to access accommodation and not entitled to help from the local authority, thereby relying on friends and relatives or just sleeping on the streets.

There are many types of hidden homelessness, but we’ve rustled up a few to create some much-needed awareness around one of the biggest issues of our time.

Rough sleepers

This is one of the most visible forms of homelessness, so why is it hidden away in plain sight?

In fact, rough sleeping was one of the most common experiences of homelessness when Crisis conducted a report in 2011. The charity also found that, sadly, almost half of the rough sleepers surveyed had not been in contact with a rough sleepers’ team for one month.

Many of these people sleep out of sight in garages and tents so are not seen by the general public, local authorities and volunteers.

Staying with friends and family

In a similar way, if homeless people are staying at a friend or relative’s house, they will not be picked up or included in official statistics. Whilst it may appear safer than sleeping on the streets, sofa surfing is still an insecure and dangerous way of living.

Commonly, individuals will have to move on quickly and only stay at the accommodation for a couple of days, either through their own choice or their host’s.

Crisis also uncovered a large number of people who offer services in exchange for a bed, such as cooking and cleaning. This frequently leads to exploitation.

Squatting

Unbelievably, 39% of homeless people who responded to the Crisis survey admitted to squatting. And whilst many have positive experiences and lived in reasonable conditions compared to on the streets, others were forced to live in rat-infested derelict buildings, with no amenities and sleeping amongst used needles, urine, rubbish and debris.

HHCP’s role

This year, HHCP is committed to raising awareness around hidden homelessness and reducing the number of people that have to experience it. As always, our aim is to prevent homelessness before it arises, and we will be working tirelessly with vulnerable groups and individuals so that they can avoid facing the housing situations mentioned above.

Want to get involved? Contact us at info@hullhomeless.co.uk.