Types of Homelessness

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Types of Homelessness

Homelessness is a very broad term for a very wide spectrum of circumstances. When you mention the word homeless, people usually think of the rough sleeper you see on the street. However, there is a multitude of definitions of homelessness as explained below.

Rough Sleepers
Describes people who sleep in the open air, such as on the street, in doorways, parks or bus shelters, or in structures not fit for habitation like cars, sheds, tents and car parks.

Street Homeless
A broader term than rough sleepers, that may include people who don’t actually sleep rough. Street homeless are routinely on the street during the day but may have occasional or regular overnight accommodation at friends, a hostel or a night shelter.

In Temporary Accommodation
A term that describes people that have some form of short-term accommodation like hotels, hostels, refuges, bed & breakfasts and possibly temporary social or private housing.

Hidden Homeless
As the name suggests, this describes situations that are hidden. Staying with friends or family, sofa surfing, or living in unsuitable housing like squats or beds in sheds or garages.



Statutory Homeless

People that are owed accommodation by their local authority, under a duty of care, because they qualify for and have been deemed to be in priority need. These are usually the same people found in temporary accommodation.

Non-Statutory Homeless
People that are not owed accommodation by their local authority, under a duty of care, because they don’t qualify and have been deemed to be not in priority need or intentionally homeless. These are the same people who are either rough sleepers, street homeless, in temporary accommodation or hidden homeless.

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