Today on World Homeless Day we are talking about the hidden homeless: people we don't often see and therefore aren't counted in official statistics.
Homelessness takes many different forms. The most visible form of homelessness is rough sleeping. According to government figures, in 2018 4677 people were estimated to be sleeping rough. The charity Crisis has estimated the true figure is above 8,000.
Many more are hidden homeless - people who become homeless but find a temporary solution by staying with family members or friends, living in squats or other insecure accommodation.
They do not often show up in official statistics and there is no reliable data on how many people live this way, but it is estimated that around 300,000 people are hidden homeless.
As well as being missed from official statistics, they are also hidden from help and support as they are harder to find.
Many of the women we support are “hidden”. It is less common to see women sleeping rough as many women resort to living in dangerous and even exploitative situations in order to keep a roof over their heads.
Some stay with an abusive partner for fear of having nowhere else to go, some enter into sex for rent deals with landlords or are expected to pay sexual favours whilst sofa-surfing. Those who do sleep rough face frightening levels of sexual violence and abuse.