Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s is urging the public to ‘Wake Up’ to the realities of rough sleeping and the social exclusion faced by many people in society who experience homelessness.
This is the call to action as St Mungo’s marks World Homelessness Day 2021. Throughout the month of October, the charity is asking supporters to come together as part of its annual #WakeUpToHomelessness campaign, and show their solidarity by donating money, volunteering, signing up to the charity’s newsletter or sharing campaign illustrations on social media.
During the pandemic, St Mungo’s supported more than 4,360 people to safely self-isolate in emergency accommodation. But with pandemic support measures, such as the £20-a-week uplift in Universal Credit coming to an end, and as energy prices, inflation and National Insurance begin to rise, there is concern this could lead to an increased flow of vulnerable people onto the streets.
This month, #WakeUpToHomelessness supporters, including fitness influencer Annie Openshaw, will be encouraging their followers to raise awareness of the dangers of homelessness and rough sleeping.
Sleeping on the streets is dangerous and life-threatening all year round, but can be even more damaging for marginalised groups including women, people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community. It’s so damaging that the average age of death for a man who dies whilst homeless is 45. For a woman, it’s just 43.
Recent data shows that:
- Last year 2,688 people slept rough on a single night in Autumn.
- The most recent survey by the ONS reported 778 deaths of homeless people in 2019, an increase of 7.2% from the previous year.
- Over two thirds of the people St Mungo’s works with have issues with their mental health.
- 40% of our clients are from a BAME background.
- 25% of trans people have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives.
As part of the campaign, St Mungo’s will be sharing stories from people who have experienced homelessness and have also faced additional barriers or social exclusion.
- Wayne, who is BAME, struggled with the trauma of his mum’s death, and found himself living on the streets.
- Sarah lost her family home when her mum passed away. She began sofa surfing and had to flee to a hostel because of an abusive partner.
- Another client, Sarah*has also detailed her experiences of homelessness and the abuse she faced as a transgender woman.
Laura Herring, Head of Individual Giving at St Mungo’s said: “Our Wake Up To Homelessness campaign shines a light on the dangers of homelessness and rough sleeping which are life-threatening all year round, but particularly so today, on World Homelessness Day.
“Homelessness can happen to anyone, and we can all have a role to play in ending it too. Throughout October we’ll be raising awareness of this important issue, and asking others to show solidarity with us in the fight to end homelessness. Please get involved by searching #WakeUpToHomelessness.”
To find out how to donate or get involved, please visit: https://www.mungos.org/wake-up/