Christmas Without Shelter: The 2023 Homelessness Crisis Unveiled

Last updated on December 29th, 2023 at 04:47 pm

Explore the latest stats and simple ways to hold the homeless in your hearts this Christmas.

As the temperatures drop and days become shorter, this is a time of year when we all want to snuggle up at home with family, enjoying hot cups of tea and digging into the mince pies. It’s easy to take it for granted. Your favourite spot on the sofa, cuddling up with loved ones and snuggling into a warm, comfy bed. Though despite being the world’s sixth biggest economy, over 271,000 are homeless in the UK.

Last year, we looked closely at the homeless crisis in the UK. A year on, let’s look at how things have changed with the latest statistics, new initiatives and simple ways to give back and make a difference.

What are the biggest causes of homelessness in 2023?

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Social Disadvantages

Everything from where you are born to your family’s financial background, education and personal relationships can influence your chances of becoming homeless. A relationship breaking down, a family falling apart, or a lack of education can lead to someone feeling they have nowhere to go and retreating to sleeping rough as a last resort.

Financial Circumstances

Financial situations can change very quickly. If someone loses their job or outgoings increase unexpectedly, this can lead to missing rental or mortgage repayments. Not only does this cause massive distress, it can result in dire consequences. The impact of poverty on homelessness has been on the rise for many years. It is an issue that needs to be addressed with the proper support and government initiatives on homelessness.

The cost of living crisis

2023 has seen a dramatic increase in the cost of living. Everything from energy, food, and travel to water bills have risen, which can put significant pressure on households and those struggling to make ends meet. The cost of living crisis is likely to fuel homelessness, driving more people towards poverty, unable to keep up with rent. This can result in evictions and force people onto the streets. Cities like London can be challenging to keep up with, with rents rising to 4.9% this year. It’s easy to find yourself in a situation where you just cannot keep afloat, losing your home, which is especially heartbreaking at this time of year. Losing your home can have devastating effects on self-esteem and emotional and mental well-being. Measures must be taken to ensure the cost of living is monitored, and wages increase to accommodate the changes.

Substance Misuse

Drug and alcohol abuse is a prevalent cause of homelessness in the UK. Addiction can lead to a breakdown in relationships and plummeting through savings that result in not being able to afford the rent or being thrown out, resulting in having nowhere to go other than the streets. Addiction can worsen as personal situations deteriorate, resulting in a vicious circle which is hard to break.

Other Causes

These are just a few of the causes of homelessness in the UK, with mental health, domestic violence and economic factors being amongst other reasons people can end up homeless. While some government initiatives and actions have been taken to mitigate the crisis, these stats reveal more needs to be done.

What are the statistics on homelessness in 2023?

Government data reveals that around 2893 people slept rough in June 2023. This is an increase of 445 people since the same time in June 2022. While these figures can fluctuate rapidly, it suggests something is not working when tackling the homeless crisis. Last year, we reported around 270,000 people to have been sleeping rough, with 126,000 being children. Today, that figure has increased to at least 271,000 being homeless and 123,000 being children. The rate of unemployment has also increased from last year to 4.3%.

These numbers are not moving in the right direction; more government attention is needed to make a big difference in the homeless crisis. Big corporations can also help by making donations that can significantly reduce these numbers by developing hostels and rehabilitation programmes to help people get off the streets. At Panda, we work closely with the charity Herts Young Homeless to donate pillows, mattresses and bedding to those without a home and a safe bed to call their own.

We are open to actively helping charities support the homeless and work towards giving everyone access to a good, comfortable night’s sleep.

What are some simple ways you can help the homeless?

While the homeless crisis can seem overwhelming and outside our control, it’s surprising how much you can do to make a difference. Making small charity donations, buying a hot meal for somebody on the streets, and showing kindness and warmth with a smile can turn someone’s day around. This is a challenging time of year for those on the streets, with harsher weather and nights feeling cold, dark and longer. As easy as it is to look the other way and forget, there is never a better time than Christmas to dig deep, open our hearts and give back to those who need it.

Because, in the UK, our dream is for everyone to be able to have a bed to call their own – let’s all work together to make that happen.

Sweet Dreams