Types of homelessness

homeless man sleeping on sofa
You are homeless if you don’t have a stable, safe, appropriate or clean place to live – but what are the different types of homelessness and what support is available?

Hidden homeless

Many people who lose their home don’t go to their local authority for support or aren’t entitled to be placed in long-term housing because they’re single – but they don’t end up on the streets. They stay with family or friends (sofa-surfing), live in squats or sleep in emergency accommodation such as B&Bs. They are called the hidden homeless.

The hidden homeless exist out of sight so they aren’t usually counted in official statistics and are therefore hard to quantify. However, according to a report published by the London Assembly, there are an estimated thirteen times as many hidden homeless in London as those sleeping rough – which gives some idea of the scale of the problem.

Temporary solutions to housing are often over-crowded, unclean and unsafe – and certainly don’t offer a stable place to live. Many people get placed in B&Bs for months on end, where they share a bathroom and sometimes have no cooking facilities, waiting for longer-term accommodation. Some people have moved between friends’ sofas for years and face the nightly stress of finding somewhere else to stay.

How does Launchpad help?

There is no single solution to homelessness, which is why Launchpad offers a holistic service to prevent homelessness, provide homes and rebuild lives – and we work closely with Reading Borough Council, St Mungo’s, The Salvation Army, Iris and other organisations across Reading to tackle homelessness in the town together.  Find out more about our work.

We encourage anyone concerned about their housing situation to contact the Homeless Prevention Service at Reading Borough Council in the first instance. They run drop in sessions at the Civic Offices from 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. Email housing.advice@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 2165.

Launchpad’s drop-in service is also available to absolutely anyone who doesn’t have a stable place to live or is at risk of losing their home. You don’t need to be referred, simply come along to the Launchpad offices on Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 10.00am to 2.00pm.

With your support and generosity, we helped over 1,000 people in Reading to get back on their feet last year, a figure which more than tripled in just five years.