Nationally homelessness is on the increase, and that is no different in Peterborough. Local agencies are working together to try and end street homelessness.

There is no single reason why someone can end up without a home. Personal circumstances and wider factors both play their part.

There are social causes of homelessness, such as a lack of affordable housing, poverty and unemployment; and life events which cause individuals to become homeless.

People can become homeless when they leave prison, care or the army with no home to go to. Many homeless women have escaped a violent relationship.

Many people become homeless because they can no longer afford the rent.

And for many, life events like a relationship breaking down, losing a job, mental or physical health problems, or substance misuse can be the trigger. Being homeless can, in turn, make many of these problems even harder to resolve.

Homeless Facts and Myths

“Homeless people are uneducated”
While homeless people may tend to possess fewer formal qualifications than the average population, this is not necessarily the cause of their situation. Rough sleepers have a variety of backgrounds, life experience and education, and it is often external factors that have led to their current issues. This is why individual assessments are so important for each individual.

“All rough sleepers have mental health problems or addictions”
While an estimated 80% of rough sleepers do have mental health problems or addictions, this does not mean they are unapproachable or dangerous, or that this is the primary reason they are on the streets.

It might be that their addiction or mental health problems followed being made homeless, or that there are many other factors which had more of a bearing on their situation such as a lack of a support network or finances.

“Rough sleepers are always the same type of people”
It might appear that most rough sleepers ‘look the same’, but rough sleepers can be old or young, male or female, local or non-local…the list goes on.

Each person’s circumstances and backgrounds are different and distinctive. For example, according to statistics from for 2017, 14% of the UK’s rough sleepers were women.

“Rough sleepers should just get a job and everything would resolve itself”
While employment may give rough sleepers some form of income, unfortunately the high cost of mortgages/rents and even basic needs means that the situation is rarely as simple. Moving from the streets and gaining employment would ideally both happen at the same time.

Additional factors such as addictions, mental health problems and disability may mean that a rough sleeper might find it difficult to gain employment.