The media focuses on rough sleepers, homeless beggars and the overall homeless crisis in Manchester. It is only more recent that hidden homelessness has become a talking point, particularly as families make up the numbers of hidden homelessness.
From Manchester alone there are 1,500 families in dispersed housing located across other boroughs such as Oldham, Rochdale and Salford and there are over 100 families living in B&Bs.
When presenting homeless it does not mean you are perceived as homeless in the eyes of the system. It is only when you are awarded ‘duty of care’ by the council you are labelled homeless in the system. However, it is not an emergency as you now have a roof over your head wherever that may be. This is where hidden homelessness comes into play. The system has no compassion and it is becoming a make do scenario over and over with no acknowledgement of isolation, regression and decline in all aspects of a homeless family’s life. The system is bursting at the seams.
Once you have been given temporary housing you can be there for more than 2 years and this is where the dramatic effects of hidden homelessness start to unravel. You are told it is temporary and you could move at any given time so don’t get comfortable, DO NOT try to make a home inside, but you are also told to make links, change schools and register at doctors. Your life is in complete limbo and you have no control.
The reality of hidden homelessness for the whole of Greater Manchester is scary. The numbers are rising rapidly and the resources are being utilised to maximum capacity yet nothing hugely impactful is being birthed. The outcome for a family who has gone through homelessness does not end when they are in settled accommodation because their financial, mental, physical and social states have been impacted along the way.
The Shared Health Foundation, council representatives and other organisations in Greater Manchester are coming together to bring a community of support to help reduce the negative experience of homeless families.
If you would like to get involved in our Homeless Family project then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Story written by Nadia from her lived experience.