What Causes Homelessness?

It was a quieter session this evening, with 38 in through the door. It did seem much busier than that. There were a few comings and goings – we think many people came in for the supermarket donations, as they are always so generous. 

The menu this week comprised of tomato soup, turkey and leek pie with a mash topping, cauliflower cheese, potato salad and chocolate panettone, bread and butter pudding with custard, all homemade and from donated ingredients. The two panettone came from one of our volunteers, who had received them at Christmas through work. They made such a wonderful dessert and it was very much appreciated. 

The police arrived this evening before the session had opened. They like to come in and touch base with us. It is very important to have the wonderful relationship that we do with them. This week Sue and Phil, the town Community Police Officers, came in for the duration of the session too. They always come in when they are on shift. It is great to see the strong relationship they have with many of the clients, even the ones that have sometimes been on the wrong side of the law. 

Difficulty With Perception

The image to the right shows the words of one of our regular clients. We thought it summed up the desperation of someone fighting everyday with addiction.

Frightened every day that “this is the day I might die.”
“Would it be better for everybody if I did?”

He was stoned when he came in. He talked about his usage of drugs and that he always feels he can get clean on his own, but he doesn’t. His fear of always being frightened of the temptation of drugs and how he can or would avoid them. He talked about going to get help, but he wants to do it through rehab, as he does not trust himself to get clean in the outside world where temptations are there for him everywhere. We sat with him for a long time and talked about trying, baby steps, and small achievements. He talked about giving everything up at once; drugs, weed, smoking and alcohol. It is all or nothing for him. We talked about the importance of trying or you will never make it. He lives in fear of his lifestyle and also the fear of facing his demons if he is clean and sober.  It is desperately sad to see the wonderful people who we meet every week suffering so much.

The Different Types Of Homelessness

People become homeless for many reasons. There are social reasons and life events:

  • Rising and unaffordable rents
  • Welfare cuts 
  • Severe lack of social housing
  • Mental health issues 
  • Drug and alcohol addiction 
  • Wage stagnation or unemployment (unable to keep up with bills) 
  • Break-up of families and relationships
  • Bereavement 
  • Leaving the armed forces and prison release
  • Neglect and abuse (people who have escaped violent relationships)

Sadly being homeless can, in turn, make many of these problems even harder to solve so people can very quickly become stuck in this terrible predicament.  

There are different types of homelessness and our clients fit into all these categories:

Rough Sleeping
This is the most distressing and visible form of homelessness. Most people when they think of a homeless person will picture a rough sleeper. Most rough sleepers will be suffering from mental illness and many health issues, drug usage is usually high and the risk of violence is very high too. 

Hidden Homelessness 
Many people do not fit into a category for receiving help with housing or benefits – or simply do not go to the council for help. People in this category are often not accounted for on official counts, therefore are named “the hidden homeless”. They will often sofa surf, this means staying around friends or families houses, not always knowing from one night to the next where they are going to stay. Eventually people stop offering accommodation or hospitality so their options reduce. Many people stay in hostels, squats or bed and breakfast and overcrowded inappropriate accommodation.

Statutory Homelessness
Local authorities have a duty of care to provide a home for certain groups of people. Lacking a secure place or a safe place that someone can reasonably stay can put a person in this category. There are always strict criteria that have to be followed. Temporary accommodation can be offered, often bed and breakfast. This is commonly put in place for families with children; these families can be in bed and breakfast for long periods of time if suitable housing is not available.  

We see the anxiety, frustration and fear from many of our clients each week who, for many live their lives in chaos and instability. 

Fundraising Project

We have a fundraising project for The Soup Kitchen running costs in 2019 and our Expansion into a Community Building through The Good Exchange, with the amazing support of Greenham Trust

Every £1 donated is match funded £1 for £1 by Greenham Trust, up to the value of £5,000! This means your donation will be worth double with extra for Gift Aid. You can support us through the link below. We would be very grateful, thank you. 

CLICK HERE

Every week something lovely happens. 

One of our rough sleepers said to a volunteer “This is my special place, I feel a person here, everyone is so kind” 

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The Newbury Soup Kitchen is division of the Haven (West Berkshire) homeless charity. Charity Number 1179298.
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