The new face of homelessness


Anyone can be a break-up, a missed pay-cheque or a bereavement away from being homeless. The classic imagery of who becomes homeless is often far from the reality of homelessness in 21st century Britain.

While street homelessness, or rough sleeping, has doubled in the past six years, invisible homelessness is an equally large problem.

Every year, 83,000 young people find themselves homeless. Additionally, overall homelessness has increased by 10% since 2015, and over 78,000 people currently live in temporary accommodation.

In the worst cases these people have no choice but to end up on the street, with 8,100 rough sleepers in London alone.

However, in the majority of cases, those who become homeless remain invisible. They could be living out of a car, sleeping on their friends sofa, or keeping their family in a hostel.

Sheena was a children’s nurse until she retired, but mounting bills and problems with her son caused her to fall into real financial hardship. Sheena eventually had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.

This meant Sheena lost her home. A mother, a qualified nurse, and a retiree – and suddenly homeless.

Sheena was able to move into a social tenancy and with an £800 grant from the Turn2us Elizabeth Finn Fund could settle her electricity, gas and water debts.

If you are struggling to pay your rent or mortgage, make sure that you are receiving all the help that you are eligible for and entitled to by using our Benefits Calculator and Grant Search.

Housing advice is also available from Shelter.