Back in 2019, the estimated number of people who were deemed as homeless, was a concerning 280,000 across England alone, and this number was predicted to increase in the coming years (Source: Big Issue).
However, due to Covid-19, the figures regarding homelessness in the UK has sadly risen further.
The Rising Cases of Homelessness: Issues, Causes and Statistics
Homelessness within the UK has been an impactful issue for many, due to its cause being non-linear. Crisis outlines this issue, stating that people become homeless for varying reasons, whether that’s due to social causes (financial trouble, unemployment, housing problems), relationship issues (domestic and familial abuse) or simply life events that can be out of their control (physical/mental illnesses).
An article by Tom Inniss provided a deep insight on the issues of homelessness through a previous interview conducted with Dan Campbell.
In addition to the detrimental causes of homelessness, pressure is also applied from the variety of issues it holds for those individuals. For instance, due to the lack of resources homeless people have access to, their vulnerability to illnesses and violence from the public can be staggering – evident from the number of deaths of homeless people (approx. 726 in England and Wales altogether.
Covid-19: How It Has Severely Affected Homelessness in the UK
The arrival of the coronavirus has left many aspects of our lives in a seemingly endless struggle, including local businesses, healthcare industries, education and so on. This left those who are much more vulnerable, such as the homeless, in a state of danger in their daily lives.
Levent Simsek from PexelsAs discussed before, there are varying reasons for homelessness, but what has been more consistent throughout the pandemic was the issue of domestic abuse – a significant contributor to homelessness. In accordance to Feantsa, 67.45% of abuse victims have confirmed the severity of abuse increasing during the pandemic. Survivors of domestic abuse who have experienced homelessness (or are experiencing homelessness) are one of the most marginalised groups in society, and we have seen a significant rise in demand for already limited resources. (Source: Feantsa)
Housing associations and charities now play an important and crucial part in the prevention of homelessness, in many cases trying to juggle campaigns to raise the issue of homelessness while simultaneously attempting to alleviate it.
UK Lockdowns: How Homelessness was Treated During UK Lockdowns
Support for the homeless has been increased quite significantly during these lockdowns, with more emphasis being placed in assisting charities for homelessness during the first national lockdown.
Shelter, for example, has provided an extensive guide to show how the public can actively help with homelessness against the coronavirus crisis (Source: Shelter)
Shortly after the second lockdown, the UK government has also pledged £310 million to tackle homelessness, as documented in a recent article published by the GOV, UK. The support targets areas with high numbers of homeless people, people in temporary housing, and those who are at risk of homelessness to some extent.
With the help of the Homelessness Reduction Act, they have claimed to have already prevented over 270,000 households from becoming homeless. That said, in terms of those who are currently homeless, we have yet to find any accurate evidence or statistics that suggest that they have been actively helped.
The same is similarly true with the charities. With the UK currently in the third – and possibly last – lockdown, data has shown just how much support various shelters, charities and institutions have provided to further prevent homelessness to those in temporary housing, as well as assist those living without homes (Source: Eyh). But, while it is possible to track the positive effects of these campaigns have had in the past, we are yet to see anything to suggest long-term changes to this worrying trend.
Will the efforts made by the government, various charities and institutions be enough to thoroughly help the UK’s long-standing homelessness issues? Only time will tell.
What YOU Can Do to Help!
RODNAE Productions from PexelsAs stated previously, the issue of homelessness, is rising at an increasingly alarming rate. While help is consistently provided for vulnerable people, the uncertainty of what the future might hold offers nothing but fear for those suffering with homelessness.
Due to this, we encourage those fortunate enough to have a roof over their heads, to stop and think about how they can help people that are unfortunately homeless at this time. Here are some great tips on how you can help:
Donate what you can to charities
This can be more than money. Food, clothes, pillows, bathroom supplies, anything that you can think of can help.
Help out in a local homeless shelter and support vulnerable people by cooking meals, providing company, preparing beds etc. Click this link to find your local homeless service.
Use social media to promote your local homeless shelters
Fundraise for your local homeless shelters
Here’s a great link for fundraising ideas.
Be active in communicating with your government service
People pass vulnerable, homeless people day after day. Simply alerting a professional can allow that person to get in touch with the support they need to avoid rough sleeping.
A simple hello, a brief period of time given for a short conversation, or even a simple acknowledgment can go such a long way. Many forget that these people are human too.
Looking to help fight homelessness in the UK? Please see this link to find various charities and organizations in helping find solutions and problems around homelessness.
Author: Karlo Jacutan (Written on behalf of TIC Finance )