What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• In 2017, Britain declared homelessness a national crisis after finding that more than 9,000 young people drifting from sofa to sofa, with no real permanent place to call home.
• How can organizations and philanthropists specifically help sofa-surfers if they are difficult to count and to find? What targeted programs are available?
• Read about the plan for England to end homelessness by 2027.
Last year, members of Parliament in Britain called homelessness a "national crisis," highlighting more than 9,000 rough sleepers and 78,000 families in temporary accommodation in England alone.
A 23 year old named Sam drifts between friends' sofas, temporary accommodation and rough sleeping in and around Leyland in Lancashire. Young people like him do not always show in official statistics — but new UK-wide research for the BBC found:
- 41% of young people have stayed with friends on floors or sofas for at least one night (excluding after nights out or due to travel difficulties)
- Just over 9% did so for over a month
- Young men are more likely to have sofa-surfed than young women — 48% of the 484 men questioned said they had compared with 34% of 519 women.
The most common reasons for young people resorting to friends' sofas included parents being unable or unwilling to provide housing, extended family being unable to help and splitting from a partner.
Tenancies ending, domestic abuse, rent arrears and leaving care also contributed.
Ursula Patten, operations director at The Key, says sofa surfers should definitely be considered homeless. "You are homeless if you haven't got a place you can stay on a consistent basis - somewhere that you can call home." She says about 70% of the homeless young people on the charity's books have sofa-surfed before running out of options and seeking help.
Read the full article about the young hidden homeless in the UK by at BBC.