What is homelessness?
People experiencing homelessness are not “The Homeless” and should not be viewed as a homogenous group. They are individuals experiencing varying crises relating to their housing. Some people are easy to help; others are very hard to help. The only certainty for our staff is that every case they deal with will be different.
Homelessness means not having a home – but most people who are homeless don't sleep on the street. The majority (but not all) of the people who experience a housing crisis can get help relatively quickly from their local authority, which has a legal duty to help them. They may be homeless and spend a short while living in temporary accommodation, but it is unlikely they will be forced to sleep rough.
Where there are complicating factors – like substance abuse and mental illness – people may be referred onto providers of specialist accommodation like Framework.
The Housing Act 1996 defines homelessness as:
- Having no accommodation available for occupation in the UK or elsewhere
- Living in accommodation that it is unfit for habitation
- Living in an unreasonable environment (for example under threat of violence)
- A person is threatened with homelessness if it is likely that he will be homeless within 28 days