Many people who become homeless do not show up in official figures. This is known as hidden homelessness. This includes people who become homeless but find a temporary solution by staying with family members or friends, living in squats or other insecure accommodation. Research by the charity Crisis indicates that about 62% of single homeless people are hidden and may not show up in official figures. A poll of 2,000 UK adults we commissioned in December 2013, found that 32% of people have experienced homelessness (including sofa surfing and staying with friends) or know someone who has experienced homelessness. 14% had experienced it themselves, 20% knew someone else who had experienced it, 2% said they had both experienced it and knew others who had.
People become homeless for lots of different reasons. There are social causes of homelessness, such as a lack of affordable housing, poverty and unemployment; and life events which cause individuals to become homeless.
People can become homeless when they leave prison, care or the army with no home to go to. Many homeless women have escaped a violent relationship. Many people become homeless because they can no longer afford the rent.
And for many, life events like a relationship breaking down, losing a job, mental or physical health problems, or substance misuse can be the trigger. Being homeless can, in turn, make many of these problems even harder to resolve.
If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness you need to go to your local authority to present yourself and register as homeless. Find contact details for your local authority here. They will be able to tell you if they can help you find accommodation.They may offer you emergency accommodation, add you to a housing waiting list or send you to another local authority to find accommodation if they think another local authority is responsible for finding you accommodation.
No Second Night Out is run to help people who are sleeping on the streets for their first few nights. This is available throughout London. Some areas have a local version of this, to find out it if it is availible in your area, google No Second Night Out and the name of your area.
By far the most useful resource on this is Homeless UK.
If you have a dependency on drugs, legal highs or alcohol it may be more difficult to find housing. There are a few excellent Christian rehabs that you can self-refer to including Betel or Teen Challenge.
The Pavement - A database of homeless services in London
Shelter - A free helpline and service for housing issues
Citizens Advice - Free advice for a dispute with your landlord or problems with your housing benefit
Refuge - If you are fleeing domestic violence
CAP (Christians Against Poverty) - Free debt & money management advise if you are in debt or can't pay your rent
Homeless Link - provide a catalogue of services