Many of us tend to associate homelessness with people who are sleeping rough on the streets, but being homeless does not necessarily mean that you do not have a roof over your head. Somebody can be regarded as homeless if they do not have a legal right to occupy the place they are living in. Moreover, with up to 62% of single homeless people unreported in official figures, homelessness has now become one of the major humanitarian issues that needs urgent attention. Here are a few facts and figures to get you thinking:
1. There are around 400,000 hidden homeless individuals in the UK. These include people living in B&B’s, hostels, squatting and even those who are sofa-surfing with friends and relatives.
2. While the most common reason people give for being homeless is relationship breakdowns, other factors include physical health problems, mental health issues, alcohol and drug problems, bereavement, and bad experiences with care and the legal justice system.
3. Homelessness does not only enforce a feeling of isolation, but it can also increase a person’s chances of experiencing drug abuse, as well as physical and mental health problems.
4. A homeless person is likely to be a victim of theft 47 times more than the general public and 13 times more likely to be a victim of violent crime.
5. There are hundreds of charities for the homeless around the UK. These charities help the homeless by providing accommodation, clothing, housing advice, careers training and services. Day centres that offer meals, showers and medication, as well as raise awareness and other forms of aid. It is estimated that around 2,414 people sleep rough on the streets on any one night. We should remember that homeless people are individuals just like us, who have found themselves in a difficult situation, of which they can only get out of with the help of those around them.
This year, Muslim Aid will continue its mission of serving humanity through our Warm Hearts Winter Campaign. The campaign will reach out to the homeless by providing ‘Keep Warm Kits’ that contain food, sleeping bags, blankets, clothing and other winter essentials. We will also be funding soup kitchens for those sleeping rough so that they can enjoy a warm meal on the coldest of days.
For more information on our Winter Campaign, or how you can get involved, click here.