BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 20 August, 2002, 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK
'Hidden homeless' targeted
Woman in bed and breakfast
One in four hidden homeless spends the day alone
"The end of an era" of rough sleepers is disguising the UK's ongoing problem of homelessness, a leading charity has claimed.

Crisis said there are still 400,000 "hidden homeless" in the UK - people who are living in bed and breakfasts and squats, or sleeping on friends' sofas.

On Tuesday the organisation announced its decision to switch the focus of its campaigns away from street sleepers towards those in temporary accommodation.

It said many are the victims of family and relationship breakdowns, with large numbers at risk because of their isolation from society.


No one should have to suffer this kind of emotional desolation in 21st century Britain

Crisis
As it launched a new programme of skills workshops to help people back into work, Crisis said it was concerned that public donations for the homeless were falling.

Supporting its new campaign actress Dame Judi Dench said: "The problem of homelessness has not been solved, it has simply disappeared from view."

'Desolation'

Crisis chief executive Shaks Ghosh said a government project to cut rough sleeping had reduced numbers by two thirds.

But she said that nobody should believe that the problem of homelessness had been solved.

According to the charity more than half of those in temporary accommodation ended up there following the end of a relationship.

Ms Ghosh said: "Divorce or relationship breakdown is something that can happen to any of us and while it is always distressing, for those people who go on to become one of the hidden homeless the result can be devastating.

"No one should have to suffer this kind of emotional desolation in 21st century Britain."

Breakdown

More than a quarter of the 150 homeless people Crisis questioned were thrown out of their family home by a parent or step-parent.

Street homeless
Crisis believes the number of street homeless is down two thirds
A further 16% said they had fled because of physical or verbal abuse.

According to the charity just 4% said drugs or drink first led them to become homeless.

Job loss was blamed by 3%, while 1% said they had suffered a mental breakdown.

Lost friends

The Crisis survey also highlighted the isolation experienced by many of the hidden homeless.

One in four spent their days alone, while 60% suffered depression, 53% felt lonely and 36% felt suicidal.

More than four out of ten no longer had contact with their parents or siblings, while 12% had lost touch with partners.

Four out of 10 had also lost contact with friends from their former lives.

Training

Among the projects launched by Crisis are a range of essential skills workshops, including DIY and cookery.

It also hopes to provide financial support to help people join training courses, find work or set up their own businesses.

Dame Judi said: "Thousands upon thousands of people across the UK are living in hostels or B&Bs or sleeping on friends' floors.

"It is vital we give them a voice by supporting Crisis' new campaign to fight 'hidden homelessness'."

Crisis was founded in 1967, following a controversial BBC drama about a homeless young mother, Cathy Come Home.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Tim Moby
"CRISIS is itself facing a crisis"
See also:

13 Mar 02 | Politics
03 Dec 01 | UK
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes