Singletons ‘falling through cracks’

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SINGLE people in Sheffield are falling through the cracks of society only to be condemned to years of homelessness, according to a new report.

Sheffield was one of 11 cities surveyed by homelessness charity Crisis. The research, carried out by Sheffield Hallam University, found it was not just people who suffer from long-term problems such as mental health issues or drug and alcohol abuse who had been homeless for years.

Those who had lived stable lives but lost their home due to relationship breakdown or job loss were also homeless for years because they didn’t get the help they needed when they first sought help.

Now Crisis is calling on councils to face up to their responsibilities for single, homeless people, and urging central government to add new measures to the Localism Bill currently passing through Parliament.

The team from Hallam found the hostel system was failing to help many.

For every month interviewees had spent in formal provision such as hostels, they had spent over three months sleeping rough, in squats, with friends or in other ‘hidden’ situations.

Over a third of respondents had squatted and at worst had committed a crime, engaged in sex work or unwanted sexual relationships or shown up at hospital just to get a roof over their head.

Crisis chief executive Leslie Morphy said: “Single people are already at the back of the housing queue, but local councils have a duty to provide advice and assistance. Thousands of people are falling through the cracks in support and suffering years of homelessness.”

Research team leader Dr Kesia Reeve said: “We hope the research has drawn attention to hidden homeless nes and the extent to which many single people are being left to fend for themselves”.