Josh Collins is a fantastic guy who has first hand experience of sofa surfing as he had no home of his own. Josh is one of the success stories of someone who has managed, with help from friends, to stop before he fell off the cliff edge of homelessness. He now has a partner and a family of his own. But because of his experience, Josh wants to raise awareness of just how easy it is for anyone to fall into the homeless trap. This a call to all community leaders and anybody that may be interested in supporting a new approach to tackling homelessness.
With your support, Josh is looking to address some of the least supported members of the homeless community, the invisibly homeless. These are people who will stay with friends and family, or in their cars and offices, because they do not find themselves in a position to stay in formal accommodation. They are often the least supported because they are difficult to identify.
This month, Shelter ranked Rossendale as having the third highest rate of homelessness in the North West. The figures will surprise many because there doesn’t seem to be anybody sleeping rough. In reality, this finding highlights how potent invisible homelessness can be. The issue can affect those of all age groups, (the DCLG have recorded many homeless people over the age of 75), but some will find themselves less likely to be recorded than others.
As an example, young people are known to first become invisibly homeless at an average age of 21, yet the average age of first approaching the Local Authority for support is 27. Without approaching the Local Authority, incidents are unlikely to be recorded. It may be that many in the situation do not realise what avenues are available to them for support.
This is where we hope to step in. We are looking to raise awareness of support networks by targeting both those staying with friends, and the friends themselves. We believe that it is the friends that may be key to this. Many will want to help, but be unsure how they can go about it. We are looking to provide support, contacts, and information for these people. We hope to raise awareness of the invisibly homeless – we know that for every month spent in homeless provision, three months has been spent invisibly homeless. We also hope to shed some light on the number of homeless people that do not progress into formal provision. It’s only by fully understanding this intermediary phase that we can prevent long term homelessness.
To do this, we would like to balance the view of the homeless by creating several “sleep-ins” rather than “sleep-outs”. This could be with friends at home, in offices, or community halls. The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness, so we are not asking for money. Donations could be raised individually for other charities, but we are asking for your personal support. Will you help us spread the word?
We are looking for motivated people that have the time to help us draft resources and make them available to others. It may be that you are part of a community or faith group that could host and manage a sleep-in. You may be social media savvy and willing to help us spread the word as far afield as possible. You might simply be interested in hosting your own small sleep-in at home and sharing your experiences on Social Media. Each and every contribution will make a difference, and we are happy to provide support and guidance to those that may never have campaigned before.
2017 is the 40th anniversary of the Homeless Persons’ Act. The Act was one of the most ambitious of its time and marked the beginning of government provisions for some of the UK’s most destitute. 40 years on, and the figures are on the rise again. A new approach is needed and we hope that you are able to support us.
For further detail, please contact: