Effects of Covid-19 on homelessness

It’s no secret that Covid has affected the world in many different ways. The effects on homelessness seems to be an under reported subject which should be recognised. The number of rough sleepers has been an ever-increasing number within the last decade with London being no exception to that rule. The graph below shows the number of rough sleepers in London in the last decade showing a clear increase with 2017/18 being an anomaly.

 Rough sleeping is the most dangerous form of homelessness. People sleeping rough are exposed to the dangers of the world which means they’re more likely to face mental health challenges, trauma and drug misuse. These can stick with individuals well past finding permanent accommodation.

Both men and women are affected by homelessness according to crisis.org the average age of death for people experiencing homelessness is 45 for men and 43 for women, that’s a huge drop compared to the reported life expectancy rates from the office for national statistics which shows men’s life expectancy to be at 79 and women’s 83. That’s a 44% decrease in men and a huge 49% in women. 

After the first lockdown we immediately saw an increase in new rough sleepers, a massive 33% compared to the first quarter of the year. The government response to Covid in homelessness was to set up the ‘Everyone in’ project where they funded £3.2 million to local authorities to aid the efforts to protect homeless people from Covid. They wanted to accommodate all rough sleepers throughout the country, while being fairly successful the government acknowledges that not all of them have been accommodated. While many were homed the ones that are still sleeping rough have faced the daily battle with trying to beg for money to eat while staying socially distanced. Sleeping rough became an even harder fight that it should be for anyone to go through.

Building a better future for the homeless is always the goal. However Covid-19 has made it tougher for not only the charities, government schemes and local councils involving homelessness but the rough sleepers themselves. Ending homelessness is a constant battle we face in this life time but Covid has set everyone back in the process. Adding new rough sleepers at an accelerating rate due to job losses, it’s something that no one could’ve predicted but now it’s here, it’s down to all of us to help these rough sleepers get a roof over their heads and the life they deserve. 

Our Values

At Dreams Unlimited we’re committed to solving the homelessness crisis. During the lockdown period we opened our doors to over 30 rough sleepers and 25% of our properties are now dedicated to supporting the local council with homelessness. Read more about our values here.


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