Rough sleeping is the most visible and extreme form of homelessness – where people literally risk their lives by sleeping in public spaces not designed or suitable for human habitation.
Rough sleeping is more complicated than it often appears to be
Most people who become homeless will never sleep rough but for those who do Street Outreach services provide a safety net and a way out of a street life-style.
Not everybody sitting in a shop doorway is sleeping rough. For this reason a clear definition has been agreed on who does and who does not count as a rough sleeper.
“People sleeping, about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) or actually bedded down, in the open air (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments). People in buildings or other places not designed for habitation.”
There is no single reason why people sleep rough. In most cases people are struggling with a series of difficult and overlapping challenges that they need to overcome in order to move forward with their lives. These include mental illness, drug and / or alcohol misuse, offending histories and chaotic relationship breakdowns.
Begging and rough sleeping are not the same thing and people who beg are not necessarily homeless. Indeed, most of the people we see begging are not homeless. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need help. In most cases they absolutely do need help from organisations like Framework – in many cases with drug or alcohol addictions. Consequently the idea of “professional beggars” thumbing their noses at the general public is not accurate. They are leading lives few us would envy.