Homelessness has been on the rise in England with at least 271,000 people now officially recognised as homeless, according to charity Shelter.
Chief executive of Shelter Polly Neate said: “The new year should be a time of hope, but this isn’t the case for the 271,000 homeless people who are facing a truly bleak 2023.”
There are also concerns from Shelter about certain types of homelessness that can go unrecognised such as sofa surfing as a person who sofa surfs does not truly have their own home despite the fact, they have a roof over their head.
Due to the nature of sofa surfing it means the person does not have a permanent place of residence and therefore has a more disorganised life and is not allowed the privileges that come with having a permanent place of residence.
Case study: 65-year-old Phil has a heart condition and became homeless after separating from his partner of 21 years. He is currently living in his van in Camberley. Phil said, “I could sofa surf but I’m a 65-year-old man and I don’t want to be a burden.”
“I’m ashamed of my life sometimes. They say you should take the ups with the downs in life, but it feels like I’ve had more downs lately. I’d just like somewhere where I could close my door, have a bath, sit down and cook myself something to eat.”
Shelter has undertaken the largest ever survey of homeless households living in temporary accommodation. Ground-breaking research found that living in temporary accommodation has a hugely detrimental impact on people’s health. It revealed
- Almost 2/3s of people (63%) say that living in temporary accommodation has had a negative impact on their mental health.
- Half (51%) say that it has had a negative impact on their physical health.
- Two in five people (39%) say that living in temporary accommodation has made it harder to access healthcare appointments.
An urgent appeal is being issued by Shelter for public support as it braces for a sharp rise in homelessness in 2023. On average, 1,000 calls are made per day to the charity’s emergency helpline, of which almost eight in ten callers are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. This figure has increased by 8% since last year.
If you are concerned and wish to help homeless people near you, you can always help by working with the appropriate charities, this can range from volunteering at shelters and soup kitchens to making donations of money, food or clothing. In addition to this, it is also important to respect the homeless as individuals and respond with kindness. “There are millions of homeless people in the world because humanity does not have a proper conscience!” – Mehmet Murat ildan. Treat them as you would wish to be treated if you needed assistance. Even something as small as a kind work and a smile could make a difference.
If you or someone you know is suffering from homelessness or is at risk of becoming homeless, reach out for help at https://www.crisis.org.uk/get-help/how-to-get-help