Today is World Homelessness Day. It’s a day we are encouraged to think about homelessness, its impact on individuals and community and how we should all be striving to ensure no one is left with no other option than to sleep on the streets.
In this blog we wanted to share with our community some key facts about homelessness to raise awareness and to encourage people to join us in tackling this incredibly damaging and dangerous issue.
Why do people become homeless?
Homelessness is a complex issue. There are many reasons people become homeless, both systemic and personal. Rising rental prices, lack of affordable housing, insecure job market and welfare reform are contributing to the rise in homelessness. These are issues we need to address as a society if we are to end homelessness. In addition to this we also need to look at some of the other root causes of homelessness like education, family relationships, drug and alcohol and mental health support among many others.
Homelessness is rising
Last Autumn it was estimated that 4,751 people were rough sleeping on any one night in England, which was a 15% rise on the previous year. Almost a quarter of these people were rough sleeping in London.
It’s reported that people who are rough sleeping are more likely to die young; men at the age of 47 and women at 43 (Crisis Homelessness Kills report). This is an appalling statistic. It’s vital that we all work to get people off the streets as quickly and as safely as possible.
Each person’s story is different
People from all walks of life can become homeless. We meet more than 1600 people a year who are affected by homelessness and they all have knowledge, experience, skills, talents and a story to tell. Every person’s situation is different, and that’s why it’s vital we offer a holistic and personalised service tailored to that individual’s needs.
What can I do to end homelessness?
One key thing you can do to support people who are rough sleeping is making a Streetlink referral. Streetlink is a mobile app where people can report rough sleepers. This sends a message to the Streetlink team who will then update the local outreach team with this information. That way the outreach worker can look for the person when they’re out on their shift, and offer them support to get off the streets.
There are a number of other ways you can help tackle homelessness with us. One way is to support homelessness charities financially by making a donation or setting up a regular gift [link to donation page]. If you have time to spare then there are plenty of volunteering opportunities at local charities, including Providence Row [find out more about our volunteering opportunities].
You can also support campaigns to improve homelessness legislation – like Crisis’ ‘Everybody In’ campaign.
Steps are being made to offer better support to homeless people, such as the introduction of the new Homelessness Act, but the challenge is great and resources being invested into tackling homelessness need to increase to meet the demand. With your help, however you choose to support us, we can reach more people ensuring they get the support they need to get off the streets.