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The Hidden Homeless

Hidden Homelessness refers to people sleeping in their cars, in squats, on the floors or sofas of family and friends, in unsafe accommodation or in homelessness projects.

The campaign billboard featured a woman sleeping in her car, with the message "people who are homeless don't always sleep on the streets."

"The stereotype of homelessness for many is the image of someone sleeping rough on the street, and while this is the case for some people, there are many, many more hidden homeless who are much less visible in the streets and towns we live in. Many are in the workplace, have children and certainly do not fit the stereotype of what many perceive a homeless person to look like.

We already know that Northern Ireland has proportionately the worst homelessness figures across the UK, but this is only the thin end of the of wedge. While government collects statistics on those who have officially presented with the Housing Executive as homeless, there are many more who are homeless but do not show up in official figures.

This is a growing problem. Ten years ago, research, undertaken by Simon Community NI found that most of us were four pay cheques from homelessness, but that has reduced to just two pay cheques in 2015, and with bad debt, rent arrears and mortgage repossessions on the rise, more people than ever are at risk of becoming homeless.

we need to understand the full extent of hidden homelessness and remove the stigma which forces many to hide their problem. Homelessness is not acceptable and with the right resources and political will, it can be eradicated."

Jim Dennison – Chief Executive, Simon Community NI