Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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In your face

July 24 2018
Who's at risk of hidden homelessness?

All night parties, staying with random strangers, asking to “sleepover” are all ways to stay off the street. So who’s at risk of hidden homelessness?

1. CATCH UP: hidden homelessness is a crisis for the individual that Government hasn’t yet grasped. The challenges of overcrowded homes, low wages, lost jobs, killer estate agents' fees/deposits and rent, plus the cost of food, getting around and utility bills often turns people towards sofa surfing. So too do family rows, relationship breakdowns, coming out as LGBTIQ+, mental health problems or addiction.

2. LAW: the new Homelessness Reduction Act – passed in April 2017 – could offer more support, but often young people don’t realise it’s there to help them too.

3. PRISON: the Prison Reform Trust and Women In Prison have found: “Many women are given short prison sentences, which dramatically increases the risk of homelessness as benefit payments are stopped so rent arears accrue and tenancies lost.”

4. THE PRESS: still has a tendency to depict rough sleepers as aggressive beggars feeding a habit rather than with human compassion. No wonder many of us are in denial.

5. GOOD INFO: is essential for anyone homeless or sofa surfing. For example, homeless veterans don’t have to be Scottish to get housed at Scottish Veterans Residencies, they just need to be ex-military, as this anonymous testimony shows:

“Being an ex-soldier, I did not want the stigma of being labelled as 'homeless'. Eventually living at a hostel took its toll, I lost my job and couldn’t pay the £15 so had to present at the Hamish Allen Centre in Glasgow. Here I realised that after 17 years in the Army, a job, a family and a home, nothing is guaranteed. Anyone can become homeless. By chance I went to the library PC and typed in ex-forces hostel Scotland and up came Scottish Veterans Residence. Within a week they offered me a warm, safe room at Whitefoord House, Edinburgh.”

 

Almost normal...

Homelessness in 2018 is almost seen as normal. People have got used to seeing tents at Charing Cross station, rough sleepers in Princes Street or sofa surfers in their living room.

• Six in 10 women released from prison do not have a home to go to. (2008)
• Crisis warned that more than half a million will be homeless by 2041. (2017)

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