People experiencing homelessness are those without the legal right to occupy any accommodation or have accommodation which is unsuitable to live in (2). While rough sleepers may be the most visible people experiencing homelessness, they represent only one of the following four types of homelessness (2):

  1. Rough sleepers
    • Often seen sleeping on streets, in parks, train stations etc.
  2. Those in temporary accommodation
    • Such as hostels, shelters, women’s refuges etc. (13)
  3. Those experiencing hidden homelessness
    • This cohort forms the largest group of homeless people but they do not appear in statistics and are hidden from services (13).
    • They include those who are staying with friends and family, those who are “sofa surfing”, those who are squatting etc.
  4. Those defined as statutory homeless
    • People deemed in priority need after approaching local authorities for assistance. These are often families; single homeless people rarely qualify for statutory homeless status (14).