World Homeless Week 2020: 6 demographics of rough sleeping | Nacro

World Homeless Week 2020: 6 demographics of rough sleeping


In preparation for World Homeless Day on Saturday 10th October, we have been sharing several specific areas disproportionately experienced by those homeless or at risk of homelessness and how we help.

Women/domestic violence


Of female rough sleepers, approximately 33% have experienced domestic abuse. Leading up to #WorldHomelessDay, today we want to shine a light on those who’ve experienced vulnerability due to abuse, but with our support have found strength to overcome it.

How do we help? Our housing services offer female-only units where women who may be fleeing domestic violence are supported in a safe environment with social, housing, financial, educational & health issues.

Staff snippet (Rachel Hudson, North East Housing Service Lead): “We help people who’ve experienced domestic abuse & are at risk of #homelessness. My job’s rewarding because I see the life-changing impact that a safe home & quality support has on victims of domestic abuse”

Who have we helped? “I was living in a tent by a bypass. I met a lad who took me in & after a while I fell pregnant. When I lost the baby he became extremely violent.” We helped Leona into stable housing, onto education & supported her emotionally.



Around 7% of rough sleepers have spent time in the Armed Forces. Today, in the lead up to #WorldHomelessDay, we want to draw attention to unique experiences like this one for those who become homeless, their struggles and how we help them.

How do we help? We work with Walking with the Wounded and Mosscare at our Manchester Stody House service to house homeless veterans & support them to recover from physical, mental or social injury following their time in service.

Staff snippet (Chris Bearman, Veteran Services, Senior Project Worker):


Who have we helped? “I was in the forces for 18 years & found myself homeless through no fault of my own. I’d suffered from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder for years.” We supported Warren into housing & with his mental ill health.

Mental health


Of those rough sleeping, 45% have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. In the run up to #WorldHomelessDay & #WorldMentalHealthDay, we want to call attention to the prevalence of mental ill health in those living on the streets and how we help.

How do we help? We understand the vital role that supported housing plays for people with mental health problems. For many living in our housing, mental health problems are diagnosed during their time with us.

We look at the whole person. Our supported housing services help people to overcome or manage mental ill health. We work towards building up an individual’s independent living skills & help into education & employment.

Staff snippet (Andrew Nock, Project Worker, Mental Health services): “We help people who have experienced mental health issues & are at risk of homelessness. My job’s rewarding because I get to help people make the most of their lives through ups & downs”


Who have we helped? When David came to Nacro he had severe mental health issues. Now he’s living healthily and independently, well on his way to achieving his ambition of becoming a mental health nurse.


Substance misuse

Approximately 43% of rough sleepers have battled with substance misuse issues, often tied to mental ill health & exacerbated by the lack of a stable place to call home. Leading up to #WorldHomelessDay we want to highlight this issue and how we support with recovery.

How do we help? We offer specialist housing support for people with substance misuse issues, including 24 hour support and short-stay accommodation for drug users with complex needs. We work with other agencies to address specific needs:

During lockdown our Recovery Near You substance misuse service supported rough sleepers with substance misuse issues: “We were able to reduce the risks of overdose & provide advice around injection sites and equipment sharing. I’m proud of the difference we made” – Jody Horton, Practitioner – Treatment Team.


Who have we helped? After P’s substance misuse spiralled, he was left homeless. We supported P into housing & helped him to find stability: “I’ve finally found a sense of calm & Nacro has played a giant part in the process of me getting here.”


Young people/care leavers

Approximately 12% of rough sleepers have been in the care system at some point in their childhood.

How do we help? We provide a range of housing and support services for young people including care leavers. Our Essex service provides a bed and critical support to young people who have faced challenges and may lack a secure family home.

Staff snippet (Rachel Dobbs, Placement Lead, Young People): “We help young people who are at risk of homelessness. My job is rewarding because I get to help some of the most vulnerable people in their most vulnerable time of need. In my role of Placement Lead I ensure that I do my utmost to provide every young person with the most suitable accommodation in line with their current needs and risks.”





Who have we helped? K was kicked out at 16. We supported K with housing & helped her pay off bills & stay positive: “Being in Nacro & having their support means I’ve come out the other end… that’s really inspiring”.



Find out more about our CELL STREET REPEAT campaign