When people think about homelessness, the homeless people we imagine is often different to the people that are homeless. The amount of older people becoming homeless has surged in recent years. It is suggested that this is due to benefits cuts that leave older people struggling to make ends meet.

Official data shows that there has been a 39% rise in people over 60 becoming homeless during the last five years. The number of homeless older people was 1,800 in 2012 – 2013. This number has now increased to 2,500 older people becoming homeless during 2017-2018. 

This research is based on older people, above the age of 60 years old, coming to the council needing a home as they have found themselves homeless or almost homeless.

Campaigners feel that homelessness in older people has risen because of local housing allowance and other benefits that were not keeping up with regular rent increases. There is also the lack of affordable housing to consider too.

During 2017-2018 there was a drop in the number of applications for homeless people aged 16-24 years old, during the surge of older people requiring houses. The number of homeless people between 16 and 24 years old that the local’s councils in the UK are aware of, has dropped by 29% in the last 5 years.

While it may seem that the ‘face of homelessness’ is changing, there are things to keep in mind. For example, many young people will stay with friends or sofa surf, instead of going to the local council about their housing service.

Charity Director of Age UK states that unless more decent affordable housing becomes available, in the forms of social of supported housing, more vulnerable older adults will become homeless over the coming years.

This report comes weeks after a separate report showing that the number of families considered to be homeless in England had surged by 11%, with a household found to be without a home every four minutes, on average.

If you would like to help homeless people in Peterborough get back on their feet with some care, kindness and support, then why not volunteer on the Peterborough Winter Night Shelter. Volunteers are urgently required on the welcome shift and night shifts, with shift still available in the evenings and mornings.