Hidden homelessness in London
Figures show that over 57,750 households were accepted as homeless by local authorities in England in 2015/16 and over 8,000 people slept rough in London during the same period. However, many more people experience what is termed ‘hidden homelessness’, sleeping on sofas at friends’ houses with no secure roof over their head that they can call home. Often these people go uncounted by local authorities and homelessness charities, so the scale of the problem is not known.
Research by Crisis in 2011 found that the majority of homeless people were living outside mainstream homelessness accommodation such as hostels. Of those surveyed, 62 per cent were hidden homeless on the day they were interviewed and 92 per cent had experienced hidden homelessness at some point. Similarly, a poll by Centrepoint in 2014 found that one in five 16 to 25 year olds had ‘sofa surfed’ in the past year, with 49 per cent spending over a month sofa surfing.
The Housing Committee is investigating the experiences of hidden homeless people in the capital, to try and understand its causes and what more could be done to tackle it.
The committee meets on 23 March 2017 to discuss this topic, and will be hearing from experts and people who have experienced hidden homelessness. If you would be prepared to share your experience of hidden homelessness with the committee, or wish to raise an issue about it, please email [email protected].