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Day 13. The Hidden Homeless

13 Times More People are Hidden Homeless than Visibly Sleeping Rough

131,000 children will be wishing for a home this Christmas.

The London Assembly Housing Committee estimated that 13 times more people are ‘hidden’ homeless, than visibly sleeping rough on the streets. ‘Hidden Homeless’ has been defined in different ways, but in general it represents those without a place to call home, but who are not represented in official statistics and are therefore not receiving any support.

Simon on the Streets has said that the hidden homeless represent the majority of homelessness. These are people who may be ‘sofa surfing’, sleeping in unsuitable places such as squats, or staying in hostels.

Official statistics indicate that just under 300,000 households will be homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, this Christmas. The reality however, is much worse. Official statistics do not account for Hidden Homelessness, as those who do not seek help will not be accounted for in these figures. Crisis has calculated that almost 250,000 will experience the worst forms of homelessness this Christmas, including rough sleeping, sofa surfing, and unsuitable accommodation.

Shelter’s recent Christmas Appeal tells the story of one of the 131,000 children who will be wishing for a home this Christmas:

Good as Gold | Shelter – YouTube

Get Help

Shelter offer an emergency helpline for those who are homeless, have nowhere to stay tonight, are worried about losing their home, and are at risk or harm or abuse. They also have online housing advice, and a webchat. Find your local Shelter service here.

Crisis offers support to find housing, employment, develop new skills, and more. Find your nearest centre here.

The Salvation Army offers advice on support for those at risk of homelessness, Lifehouses supported accommodation services, the Housing First approach for those who are long-term homeless, drop-in tailored support, ‘Nap Pads‘ pop up accommodation, outreach services, night shelters, addiction services, Chaplaincy services, and other additional need services. Find your nearest Salvation Army here.

Talk to CALM (campaign against living miserably) from 5pm to Midnight every day. Call 0800 58 58 58 or use their webchat.

Search for local homeless services on Homeless Link.

Contact your local Citizens Advice.

North Yorkshire area specific support can be found here.

Help Others This Christmas

This Christmas while you are settling down in your bed on Christmas eve, or waking up in your home on Christmas day, or setting the table for Christmas dinner, or watching a Christmas film on TV, remember that not everyone is able to do so.

While over 131,000 children will wake up on Christmas day without a place to call home, you might be waking up in your own home with gifts piled high under the tree. Every child deserves to wake up with excitement on Christmas day, and you could help give them some of that Christmas joy back.

  1. Donate to Crisis, Shelter, or your local homeless charity.
  2. Take part in the ‘reverse advent calendar‘ (or simply donate to a food bank)
  3. Be kind – speak to people who are sleeping rough:
“One of the things our guests said they had enjoyed most about staying at the shelter over Christmas was the human contact – actually having conversations with people. In a letter to the volunteers, one of the guests said they hadn’t spoken to people like that in months. A few kind words and some genuine interest makes a real difference.” – The Independent 

4. Buy charitable this Christmas

There are so many ways you can support those who need it most this Christmas:

Shelter have partnered with AllSaints, selling a Shelter X AllSaints tshirt that would make a great gift this Christmas.

Marks and Spencer have continues with their 12-year tradition of supporting Shelter with their Christmas food range. Their campaign video demonstrates the impact that buying a sandwich from the M&S X Shelter range can make:

You could buy a Big Issue from your local vendor, or contribute to the front-line team.

You can give a virtual gift via Centre Point, to show a young homeless person that someone is thinking about them this Christmas.

Donate a Christmas Dinner with Single Homeless Project.

Gift someone (or yourself) the Book of Homelessness by Accumulate. An anthology of stories and drawings created by people affected by homelessness about their own lives and experiences.

Host a refugee in your home via Naccom.

Whether you buy a sandwich or host a refugee, small or big, every step makes an impact in someone’s life. This Christmas, be grateful for what you have and give what you can to those who don’t have the same.

Make an alert here to alert StreetLink about a rough sleeper and get them help. Always call 999 if they are in immediate danger, needs medical assistance or is under 18.

Get help for yourself here. Call 999 if you are in immediate danger, need medical assistance, or are under 18.