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Homelessness: Just the facts

Being homeless means that someone does not have a permanent home to live in.

Being homeless can look different for different people and it’s important to remember that not all people facing homelessness may be as visible as others. Some people who are homeless may sleep rough meaning they don’t have a roof over their head and may have to sleep outside. Others may sofa surf between friends’ homes meaning they don’t have a permanent place to stay and must rely on friends for a place to sleep. It’s important to remember that homelessness can happen to anyone and it’s rarely a choice.

What causes homelessness?

People can become homeless for many different reasons. Some reasons include:
• Relationship breakdown (with family or partner)
• Bereavement (the people/person they lived with have/has died)
• Not being able to afford the bills
• Poor physical or mental health
• Substance abuse
• Escaping domestic violence, abuse or trauma
• Fleeing from their own country to escape war or a natural disaster
• Leaving the army or prison and having nowhere to go

What are the impacts of being homeless?

Not having a permanent home can make it really tough for people to find a job, stay healthy (physically and mentally) and keep up good relationships with others.

When people are homeless, they often feel alone and isolated. This can make it more likely that they will turn to drugs or experience mental health issues. Sometimes people think that things like drug use or mental health problems cause homelessness but actually it’s often the other way round.

The longer someone is homeless, the more difficult it can be for them to get back on their feet. Their problems can become more complex and it can be harder to find a way out of a tough situation.

What support is there for homeless people?

If you or someone you know is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, you can contact the following services for support:

  • Your local council. Click here to find your local council.
  • Search for local services. Click here to find your nearest Citizens advice who can help you find local support.
  • Advice lines and online help such as:

Shelter is a housing charity who have an online chat service and can be contacted on 0808 800 4444

Samaritans are available to listen to you 24/7 on 116 123.

Emmaus is a charity who provide work, training, support and a stable home to homeless people. Click here to apply for their support.

How to get help

If you have questions about homelessness or would like to speak to somebody, look at these links or search for local services in the blue box below. Alternatively, you can always talk to your school nurse.

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Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.

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