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Different Types of Homelessness

There are many different types of homelessness – some more critical than others, but all can have a serious impact on an individual’s human rights, physical and mental health, and general wellbeing. 

Street Homelessness

Street homelessness or ‘rough sleeping’ is the most visible form of homelessness and refers to people living without a roof over their head, or any safety, protection or security. According to the 2016 Homeless Monitor a recent ‘Street Needs Audit’ indicates that the number of people sleeping rough on the streets of Belfast City Centre averages at 6 per night.

Statutory Homelessness

Statutory homelessness refers to people who have been accepted by the Housing Executive as homeless – often living in temporary or emergency accommodation, or in unsuitable housing, and are in need of a safe, secure place to call home. In 2015 - 2016 almost 20,000 households presented as homeless to the Housing Executive.

Hidden Homelessness

Hidden homelessness refers to people who are considered homeless, but who are not visible on the streets or not included in official statistics – essentially people living without a secure place to call home, but who haven’t presented to any housing authority or service provider for help. People who are classed as hidden homeless are sofa surfing, staying with friends or family on a temporary or long term basis and people who are living out of their car. 

Concealed Households

Concealed households refer to people who are living in shared accommodation and would prefer to live independently, but cannot afford to do so. This can lead to relationship breakdown, overcrowding and unsuitable living conditions. It is estimated that between 76,000 to 136,000 adults currently live in concealed households in Northern Ireland alone.