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Tackling Homelessness, a growing crisis in the UK

Homelessness is becoming an increasing problem in the UK. Every year the number of people who are homeless is rising. If the current rate of homelessness continued, it was predicted by the Crisis that by the end of 2023 300,000 households in the UK could experience the worst forms of homelessness. 


Research from Shelter shows that there is a stark 14% increase in homelessness, that is 38,100 more people who are now homeless, in the past year. London has the worst rates for homelessness in the UK, as in December 2023, 1 in 51 people in the capital city were homeless. The East Midlands has the highest annual increase in homelessness with an increase by 33% from 5,900 people to 7,900 people.


Some groups of people are more likely to experience homelessness. People who work in low paid and low-skilled jobs, living in poverty, and in poor quality or insecure housing are at greater risk of homelessness. 


Homelessness can also be hidden with people living in hostels, sleeping on friends and family members sofas and floors, or living in squats and B&B’s. Some people qualify for additional help and support from the government. Every year, tens of thousands of people apply to their local authorities for assistance with homelessness. Local authorities aim to provide housing to families with children foremost. 


Rough sleeping is the first image that comes to people’s minds when they think of homelessness. It is the most dangerous and the most visible form of homelessness as the longer an individual spends rough sleeping, the more likely they are to have mental health issues and drug misuse problems. 


Several charities and organisations are offering help and support to those facing homelessness including Crisis and Shelter. Crisis is campaigning for the changes needed to end homelessness for good, working with people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness in 9 main areas of the UK, and supporting people at Christmas and other challenging times of the year. 

Although the picture is bleak, with homelessness across the whole UK on the rise, the government, local authorities, and a range of charities and organisations are attempting to reduce the number of people who are homeless and offer ongoing support to those who are. 

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