Hidden homelessness revealed - new poll shows shocking numbers of sofa surfers

4 Dec 2014

A staggering 11 per cent of young people who had to sofa surf in the last year had suffered domestic violence.

One in five UK 16-25 year-olds have had to sofa surf in the past year, staying with friends or extended family on  floors or sofas because they had nowhere else to go.

These shocking stats were revealed by our recent ComRes poll, which reveals the extent of hidden homelessness in the UK for the first time. 

The poll of 2,000 young people aged 16-25 found that many young people across the UK were being forced to stay with friends or members of their extended family on floors or sofas.

Nearly 50 per cent of those who had sofa surfed in the last year spent a month or more sofa surfing, with some doing so for more than six months.

A number of young people were made homeless after they were evicted or were unable to renew their tenancies.

Family relationship breakdown was also a key cause of sofa-surfing. One in five of those who had to sofa surf in the last year reported that they had nowhere else to stay because their parents were unwilling or unable to accommodate them – and an alarming number of respondents were forced to leave their home in order to flee violent situations.

A staggering 11 per cent of young people who had to sofa surf in the last year had suffered domestic violence.

With an estimated 15,000 young people without a home over Christmas and more than a 1,000 beds for homeless people having been lost in the last year, Centrepoint have launched an appeal urging the public to take action.

We need to raise £370,000 to ensure no young person has to face Christmas cold, frightened, and alone. It has been revealed that homeless young people are twice as likely to die as their peers – your donation could save a life.

Seyi Obakin, Centrepoint Chief Executive, said: ‘The government doesn’t track the number of young people sofa surfing, but our poll makes clear that goodwill is the only thing keeping too many young people across the UK from sleeping on the streets.

Young people now staying with Centrepoint have told us that sofa surfing was the last possible option for them, and it’s frightening to know just how many of them are living on the edge of society – in some cases for months at a time. 

Some may see sofa surfing as a solution in the short-term, but in fact it can be hugely detrimental for a young person’s prospects. Stuck on a carousel of sofas and floors, young people are unable to build a future for themselves and are hidden from those that can support them in leaving homelessness behind.’

You can help save a life this Christmas by sponsoring a Centrepoint room for just £12 a month.