Homelessness Facts

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Who counts as being homeless?

You don’t have to be sleeping on the streets to be classed as homeless. You might also be legally homeless if you are:

  • temporarily staying with friends or family
  • staying in a hostel or bed and breakfast
  • living in very overcrowded conditions
  • at risk of violence or abuse in your home
  • living in poor conditions that affect your health
  • living somewhere that you have no legal right to stay in (eg. a squat)
  • living somewhere that you can’t afford to pay for without depriving yourself of basic essentials (like food and clothing)
  • forced to live apart from your family, or someone you would normally live with, because your accommodation isn’t suitable.

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Who is typically affected?

Homelessness affects a wide variety of people. Some groups of people are more likely to become homeless because they have fewer rights, particular needs or are less able to cope by themselves.

These include:

  • young people leaving home for the first time
  • old people
  • people with children
  • people with physical or mental health problems
  • people leaving care
  • ex-prisoners
  • asylum seekers and refugees.

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How do people become homeless?

You could become homeless for many different reasons.

These could include:

  • being evicted by your landlord
  • losing your job
  • health problems
  • relationship problems
  • a disaster such as fire or flooding.
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