Herts Young Homeless shines a light on sofa surfing in new campaign
'Sofa surving' is the most common form of hidden homelessness, says the charity
A homeless charity that has been supporting vulnerable people in Hertfordshire for over 20 years is launching a campaign to raise awareness of sofa surfing, the most common form of hidden homelessness.
Herts Young Homeless (hyh) has a variety of free services for anyone aged 16 to 24 who are homeless or threatened with homelessness, and it wants young people to know about the realities of sofa surfing and that help is available to them.
Sofa surfing is a commonly used term to describe anyone who has made short-term arrangements to stay somewhere, often with friends or extended family, although sometimes they may not know their hosts well. It is one of the most common yet misunderstood forms of hidden homelessness.
In June, Herts Young Homeless wants to raise awareness of the issue and encourage young people who are sofa surfing, and who are in need of support, to come forward.
Caroline Neill, fundraising and communications manager at Herts Young Homeless, said: ‘With this new campaign, we are looking to raise awareness of sofa surfing and its effects on young people.
"We’re asking anyone who wants to help vulnerable young people in our local area to get the support they need to watch the film, to like it and share it with their friends and to ‘stand up against sofa surfing’ by signing up online and lending their voice to our campaign."
The charity has commissioned a new film, sponsored by Burton’s Biscuits, to highlight the issues of sofa surfing.
Sally Scott, Director of Services at Herts Young Homeless, said: "During my time working at hyh, one of our key concerns has always been about those young people who are sofa surfing.
"The impact of this is often misunderstood and these numbers are not included in official statistics that represent homelessness across Hertfordshire.
"Whilst this group of young people are not ‘rough sleeping’, many of them lack a stable environment and a safe place to stay. Everyone’s situation is impacted by their living arrangements.
"The young people we work with are often transitioning into adulthood and are at a stage in their lives where they are making important decisions about their futures.
"Having a safe, secure space and positive influences around them is vital to this. At hyh we want to ensure that young people recognise when they are in this situation and how they can access support."
Herts Young Homeless has a team of staff who offer free advice to young people and their families. If you are aged 16-17 call 03003 230130, if you are aged 18 - 24, call 08000 355 775.