Homelessness in Leeds
The traditional view of homelessness is of someone out on the street, living rough, visiting night shelters and soup runs.
This is indeed a visible sign of homelessness but there are many other people without a place to call home, a place of safety and a place of permanence.
In these difficult financial times much more homelessness is hidden – young people ‘sofa surfing’ – constantly on the move; people squatting in very poor or derelict housing; whole families living in a friends’ spare rooms.
Due to people who find themselves experiencing ‘hidden homelessness’, statistics as to the actual number of homeless people in Leeds are hard to pin down. What is clear is that Leeds and many other cities across the UK have increasing numbers of people without a place to call home.
The good news is that Leeds has many organisations, groups and individuals working hard to support the most vulnerable people in our city. At the forefront are charities such as Emmaus Leeds, Leeds Housing Concern, Simon On The Streets and St George’s Crypt but there are many other organisations helping to fight homelessness.
The wider business community, arts and creative sectors and educational institutes also play an important role in supporting homelessness initiates across the city. Every individual has a role to play in breaking the stigma associated with homelessness and helping those people at rock bottom.
If you want to help fight homelessness in your city, volunteering for a homelessness charity, or donating either money or household goods to charities operating social enterprises, are simple steps that every Leeds resident can take.
There are many misconceptions about why people find themselves homeless and the wider issues connected to homelessness. Emmaus UK has found that 33 per cent of formerly homeless people at the charity find themselves there through relationship breakdown. Homelessness can affect anyone from any walk of life.
Each person has a different story to tell and a different set of circumstances that has contributed to them becoming homeless. By working together, individuals and organisations can give people the support they need and the opportunity to rebuild their lives. Once this opportunity is grasped, individuals can feel empowered to develop their own resilience and confidence to break the negative cycle of homelessness.
Find out more about how you can get involved with Emmaus Leeds and support our work.