The facts on homelessness in the UK
It is all but impossible to calculate an accurate total of homeless people today, due to the many different methods of counting and the eligibility criteria used to be ‘classed’ as a homeless rough sleeper. Factors also impact the trends, such as change in season and climate.
Sadly, it is believed that accurate figures are frequently adapted by government bodies, to present a favourable impression of the overall situation. One such tactic used is to discount a person as a rough sleeper, or indeed homeless, if they happen to be sitting up, as opposed to lying down when counted by certain authorities. Figures below have been gathered by a combination of sources, including Crisis, The Guardian, Homeless Link and The Telegraph. This issue is, as they say, ‘Big’, with numbers increasing year on year and an estimated growth of over 30% of individuals becoming homeless from 2015-2016 alone.
Having carried out vital research, engaging directly with many members of the rough sleeping community (past and present), it became evident that many people had previously been surrounded by a support network or community. Some had vital support from family members and friends. In many cases presented, people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing had taken a downward spiral, resulting in fracture relationships and lack of self-care.
At Kozia, we believe that repatriation could be the right course of action, in some cases. With encouragement and a shift in thinking, many people on the streets could return to a previous caring and supportive community. Watch this space!
People affected by homelessness in the UK every year
Rough sleepers throughout the UK on any 1 night
Estimated number of 16-25 year olds in need of housing
The Importance of Safe Sleeping
The core intention of Kozia is to provide those that are rough sleeping with a good meal and a safe, cosy space to sleep at night. Although we aim to accommodate everyone referred to us, we also have to ensure the safety of existing guests, staff and our commendable volunteers. We therefore carry out some basic checks before greeting new guests aboard.
Our accommodation is clean, compact and kept as tidy as possible, given the often confined cosy spaces we provide.
Kozia is a unique short term solution to getting people off of the streets. We always aim to support people into more permanent accommodation within 6 weeks and we will not take a guest in the unlikely event that we asses that this is not going to be possible.
We will always sign-post people to the next place in their journey, to being happily, sustainably and effectively re-homed. This may involve directing people to one or more other professional services, in preparation for the next leg towards a permanent home.
When sleeping rough it is almost impossible to get a good night’s sleep. Ensuring people get enough safe, good sleep will always have a positive impact on any person’s physical, mental and emotional health.
Over a sustained period of time it has been clearly proven that sleep deficiency can harm a person’s self-esteem, mental health and cause a sense of social isolation. The sleep deficiency that comes with rough sleeping can also exacerbate or indeed bring on the symptoms of numerous mental health disorders which can include depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and PTSD.
Ongoing sleep deficiency can also exacerbate some chronic physical health issues including, Breast Cancer, Psoriasis, Diabetes, Heart Problems, COPD and Arthritis to name a few.
Physical and Emotional Safety
It is very common for those sleeping rough to fall victim to the risk of drug and alcohol abuse, as a means to numb the physical and emotional pain associated with their harsh circumstances. To further compound these challenges, many are exposed to the harsh elements, bullying, assault, being robbed and sometimes far worse. All these factors play a big part in the overall negative sense of despair which often drags rough sleepers into a no-hope downward spiral where recovery becomes extremely difficult to imagine.