Homelessness is extremely harmful to peoples wellbeing and health. Many people who sleep rough will suffer from multiple health conditions such as mental health problems and drug misuse. Sleeping rough shortens life span by 30 years with people likely to die younger at 47 years old compared with 77 years old for the general population.
People sleeping on the streets are almost 17 times more likely to have been the victims of violence whilst sleeping rough. More than 1 in 3 people sleeping rough have been deliberately hit or kicked or experienced some other form of violence whilst homeless.
Thousands being ‘forgotten in statistics’ as estimated that around 51,500 people were found to be living in temporary accommodation, compared with 5,870 as recorded by the government. Homelessness was one of last year’s biggest talking points and for good reason. Hundreds of thousands of people are forced to live on the streets, sofa surf or are stuck in dangerous rentals and are unable to speak out.
To be legally defined as homeless in the UK you must either lack a secure place in which you are entitled to live or not reasonably be able to stay in that actual place. However, in order to receive assistance under the main homeless duty, there are further strict criteria that you have to meet. Local authorities may initially provide temporary accommodation to households who might meet these criteria mainly families with children.
The methods used currently by the government to record homelessness portray unrealistic results. Many people are concealed from these results. Current figures are an underestimate.
Many people who the average citizen would classify as homeless are neglected from the record as they do not fit into the government criteria. We cannot simply ignore the lives of individuals because they are not ‘lying down in the street’. If the government and local councils change the way they record homelessness a truer representative statistic would be achieved.