People sleeping rough or bedded down in the open air (such as streets, in doorways, parks or bus shelters) people in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations or bashes). The definition does not include people in hostels or shelters or other sites used for recreational purposes.
Ninety per cent of counted rough-sleepers are white males, who tend to sleep most visibly. Street homelessness is more inclusive. It includes vulnerable people who may have somewhere basic to sleep at night, but who can be on the streets during the day. It includes people therefore who stay in derelict buildings and squats. It includes people sleeping outside of city centres and those who stay in hostels. It also includes street based sex workers who are vulnerable and homeless, but not visibly sleeping on the street. Street homelessness includes higher numbers of homeless people from BME groups and women.
Homelessness is defined in a number of ways. You are homeless if: You live with no kind of shelter, for example, on the streets. You have shelter, but nowhere to call home. You are living on a friend’s or relative’s floor. Or you are living in a hostel.
The definitions around homelessness are quite complicated. It means that a person could be homeless their whole life without ever having slept rough. And also a person who is not technically homeless, who has their own tenancy for example, could be a rough-sleeper. This could fit some of the people we know who sleep rough occasionally with friends who are long term rough sleepers but have their own tenancy.
So why do we as an organisation focus on rough sleepers? Our ethos is about supporting the most vulnerable people who can’t or won’t access other services. Rough-sleeping for any substantial period of time is potentially very harmful and therefore in itself will make individuals vulnerable. Rough-sleeping is also usually a good indicator that people are not accessing other services and that they have high support need