Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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It's not forever

July 24 2018
Here’s your guide for those times when you have a roof, but are roofless “It’s not forever, it’s just ‘til I’m back on my feet…” says Cathy to her sister, in the play Cathy recently toured by Cardboard Citizens. But for your host it may seem suspiciously like forever. For every rough sleeper in London there might be 15 hidden homeless – sofa surfers, street campers, the guy sleeping on the tube/bus, the family squeezed into a spare room and maybe that’s you too. So how to keep that spot on the sofa?

Jules: “Wash up. Don’t leave a mess”

Adar: “Sofa surfing is a phase of homelessness, before it gets to the next level with you surfing on the bus or the park. It’s a massive relationship stress for your friends and family. You will get on their nerves however easy you are to live with.”

Ian: “There’s a bit in the play Cathy where Cathy tells her sister she’s on the housing waiting list. She’s number 497. Her sister doesn’t want her to stay for seven years until she gets to the top!”

Mat: “Do the cleaning and help around the house because simple jobs can put you in the right space, it’s about taking responsibility. You’re helping yourself and the person who pays the rent or owns the place.”

Adar: “Always have the uncomfortable discussion and talk. Be the one to bring it up, regardless of your fear of being chucked out. Know that their fear is they will never get rid of you, regardless of what you’re saying or doing. I ask myself would I treat people better? I always hope so, but people get on each other’s nerves even if you lived in the loft and cleaned up at the weekends. That’s why I think fostering for homeless people would be a massive help. Then you could be with people who give you support. It could be a way of counteracting the massive numbers of hidden homeless.”

• Being a sofa surfer is mentally tough. You might be in shock, kicked out of your home after a row
• However bad you feel, you need to show your happy side and fit in with peoples' house rules.
• For most people, sofa surfing is safer than sleeping rough.