Homelessness doesn’t always look how we might expect. Being homeless doesn’t necessarily mean sleeping on the streets. It can mean staying in hostels, crashing with friends, or even living at a house in poor conditions. Homelessness is often the result of challenging life events or circumstances beyond the individual’s control. The lack of a suitable place to rest their heads is not the only problem facing homeless people day to day.
When it comes to homelessness, the issue is very rarely a solitary problem. It’s often difficult to separate cause and effect from one concern to another however what is clear is that an individual experiencing homelessness is far more likely to be experiencing additional problems such as unemployment or illness.3
There is also a certain element of stigma attached to some circumstances such as sleeping rough. Some mistakenly think that all people experiencing homelessness have created the situation for themselves and choose to spend their time abusing substances and causing public nuisances. The reality is that most people forced to live on the streets are lonely, scared and incredibly vulnerable to crime and abuse without the safety of a place of their own.
It is almost impossible to find work without a fixed address and without an income, many people find themselves in a cycle of poverty. This means a constant struggle to meet basic needs such as food, water, shelter and sanitation.
There are organisations all over the world supporting people experiencing homelessness. Their work doesn’t just involve finding or improving homes for those individuals affected. From studying ways to increase prevention, services providing postal addresses to programmes offering training or direct employment, the list goes on.
There are also organisations that provide support in terms of healthcare. This could be, access to medication, mental health and addiction treatments or counselling after a traumatising experience.
All these different approaches together create a truly comprehensive way to help those facing homelessness to find their feet.
- United Nations Annual Report 2005 https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G05/117/55/PDF/G0511755.pdf?OpenElement
- Rough Sleeping Statistics Autumn 2017, England (Revised) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/682001/Rough_Sleeping_Autumn_2017_Statistical_Release_-_revised.pdf
- Homelessness, Health and Human Needs https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK218232/