Homelessness is complex and anyone who is currently without a home should be viewed as an individual - not as part of a homogenous ‘homeless’ group. Lots of different people find themselves in lots of different situations of homelessness for lots of different reasons.
Rough sleeping represents the smallest segment of the homeless population.
Often people think about people who are street homelessness or rough sleeping, but this represents the smallest segment of the homeless population (2-5% in Manchester). Other circumstances include people who are in emergency shelters, temporary accommodation, sofa-surfing, unsafe / substandard housing, and those who are at risk of being homeless.
Anyone can become homeless, but it is often linked to poverty. We see a higher representation of people who have left the care system (~30%), prison system (~20%), and military (~20%). As well as a greater prominence of mental health conditions (~70%), substance misuse, and experiences of ACTs (acute-childhood trauma).
Causes of Homelessness
The main cited reason for why someone becomes homeless in the UK is ‘relationship breakdown’, in Manchester it is ‘eviction from private-tenancy’. In reality, there are often several compounding factors which lead to someone being in a situation of homelessness. For example; abuse, debt, and separation from their social support networks.
Homelessness has increased across the whole of the UK in the last ten years.
Homelessness has increased across the whole of the UK in the last ten years and there are many external pressures which are influencing this:
- Not enough social housing
- Social housing stock being privately owned and managed
- Not enough affordable housing
- Section 106 (affordable housing requirements) being negotiated out of privately
- Building houses but not building neighborhoods & social infrastructure
- People not being part of a community or other social support networks
- Letting agents who discriminate against ‘DSS’ tenants or young people
- Regeneration strategies that do not meet the needs of all citizens
- Cities and spaces that you can only enjoy or feel a part of if you have money
- Cuts to local government budgets and staffing
- Reforms to the welfare system (Universal Credit)
- Growing disparities in wealth distribution
- Cyclical poverty and associated patterns of behaviours
- A state support system and processes which does not fit the people it is for
If you are homeless (or at risk of becoming homeless) you have to present at your local authority who will decided if there is a ‘statutory duty’ for them to support you.
There are lots of ways you can contribute to our aim of ending homelessness. The organisations in our network post what they need on Street Support – have a look on Give Help and see if there is anything you can respond to. There are also some bigger, reoccurring, or more urgent needs which you might be able to help with. If you can help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bigger picture – systems change
The prevention of homelessness often starts with a conversation. If there is a friend, family member, neighbour or colleague who you are worried about - speak up.
Ethical business practices
You might have a strong social value arm of your business, but do you follow ethical business practices? (E.g. having a mental health policy and a good pay ratio). What support mechanisms are in place for colleagues who might be at risk of, or experiencing a form of homelessness?
Use your influence and networks to advocate and campaign for change on the wider factors that are causing more people to become homeless. This would include:
- Need for more social, affordable housing and adherence to S106
- More inclusive and transparent processes for how city decisions are made
- Improved mechanisms for citizens to be informed on and influence policy
- Greater public awareness around the ‘bigger picture’ of homelessness
Urgent network needs
Many charities and services need a permanent base in the city centre. Do you have any land or building space which could be utilised by one of our partners?
There are a number of drop-in centres and accommodation provisions that could be improved. Get in touch to find out more.
We would like to work with any organisation who is interested in inclusive recruitment. Get in touch to find out more.
Reoccurring network needs
We need regular city centre hosts for meetings and groups, with catering if possible.
Do you have any rooms we could book or use?
We have a shared storage facility which needs to stay stocked up with coffee, tea, sugar, tinned goods, underwear, and toiletries. Can you donate these items?