However, rough sleepers are only part of the issue, a fact that homelessness charity Depaul UK is highlighting in a new campaign to raise awareness of “hidden homelessness”, which forces people to sofa surf or stay in unsafe accommodation.
The national youth homelessness charity works with 16-to-25-year-olds to help them avoid and escape homelessness. From emergency accommodation to longer-term housing and outreach services in the community, it aims to provide immediate solutions for young people in crisis.
It says Covid-19 has been devastating for the young, making their lives, moving from place to places and sleeping on sofas or with strangers in risky situations, even more precarious.
The charity’s research has shown that more than half (55%) of young people in hidden homelessness have suffered some form of harm, such as mental or emotional abuse (29%), physical assault or abuse (28%), being pressured into drinking alcohol or taking drugs (25%), being sexually abused or exploited (12%) or having their property stolen (36%).
Created in partnership with agency Publicis Poke, the #SleepBedless viral campaign asks the public to sleep without beds for a night to raise awareness of the issue and fundraise to help cover the charity’s coronavirus crisis costs.
People are simply asked to #SleepBedless for one night, donate £5 to Depaul UK and nominate three others to do the same. A donation of £15 could pay for a bed-night at Depaul’s emergency accommodation service Nightstop.
Depaul UK’s executive director of fundraising and communications Kevin Clements said: “Our services, including our emergency accommodation network Nightstop, give young people the alternative to hidden homelessness that they so desperately need.”
Publicis Poke executive creative director Dave Monk added: “We mustn’t forget the most vulnerable through this coronavirus crisis. #SleepBedless is a way for the public to take action, raise funds for Depaul and do genuine good in a time of need.”
The Campaign Hub is now live at the Depaul website>
So what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?
The young are the future of this country, so why wouldn’t you want to help those who through no fault of their own find themselves sofa surfing, drifting from place to place? While the lockdown has been hard for many, imagine what it must be like if you don’t have a permanent place to live?
Of course many people are feeling unsure about their own futures, but these kids are hurting now. Just sign up, after all, there are still far too many who don’t get the support they need…
Decision Marketing Adometer: Another fully supportive 10 out of 10