It is very hard to give exact figures of how many people in Peterborough are actually homeless. A rough estimate can be given based on how many people the council see sleeping out at night. We can also look at how many people we get through the doors at The Garden House. However many people do not show up in official figures. This is because of something called the hidden homeless in Peterborough.
The hidden homeless in Peterborough include people that become homeless but are able to find a temporary solution. This could be staying on a parents lounge floor, staying on friends’ sofas for a few nights at a time, living in squats and moving around or finding other insecure accommodation.
The charity Crisis did some research that indicated around 62% of single homeless people are classed as the hidden homeless and therefore do not show up in official figures.
A poll was commissioned of 2,000 adults during December 2013. This poll found that 32% of people have experienced homelessness at some time or knew a close friend or family member that had. This includes people staying at friends homes on a temporary basis or sofa surfing. This was broken down to 14% of 2,000 adults having experienced homelessness themselves and 20% that has close friends or family members that had experienced it. 2% of those adults said they had experienced homelessness and knew people that were or had been homeless.
The changes in benefits and universal credits have led to a rise in homelessness and rough sleepers in many cities, including Peterborough. However these are the figures we know that have increased. Nobody knows for sure how the hidden homelessness figures have changed.
This is why we need to ensure we are completely prepared for the homeless guests and rough sleepers in Peterborough that we may be welcoming for the Peterborough Winter Night Shelter.