There are no accurate statistics on homelessness. Seems slightly odd to me that most things can be counted but not the amount of people who are homeless. I realise it is difficult to count the number of people sleeping rough and those who are “sofa-surfing” but local authorities should have records of those who are claiming to be homeless.
To be legally defined as homeless you must either lack a secure place in which you are entitled to live or not reasonably be able to stay in your current accommodation. However, in order for your local authority to have a duty to find you housing, there are further strict criteria that you have to meet. The housing a local authority provides to households who meet these criteria, mainly families with children, may initially be temporary accommodation.
In England alone, over 113,000 households applied to their local authority for homelessness assistance in 2012/13, an 11 per cent increase in the last two years.
If you are single and homeless, you are not a priority so you are left to find other places to sleep. There are nearly 41,500 bed places in hostels for single people living in England.
So where else is there to sleep? Squats, Bed & Breakfast establishments (if you have the money)and floors. Pretty gruesome isn’t it really?
So spare a thought for the homeless and the thousands of hidden homeless people this winter.
It is not easy for us in these harsh economic times but the majority of us have a plate of food a day. Quite often, the homeless go without.