What are statistics doing?


Any one of us can find ourselves homeless.

Sofa surfing.
On the streets.
Searching for safe shelter.
Another number in a statistical count.
A number that could have just been estimated by your local authority which completely dehumanises the individuals who are encountering homelessness. The 25th of January 2017 saw the seventh annual statistical release, after a revision of guidance on evaluating the extent of rough sleeping in September 2010. These statistics are based on a one night single count which, at the discretion of local authorities, will either be a street count or an estimate. 86% of which submitting their numbers as an estimate. That is 86% of authorities dehumanising their homeless citizens and guessing figures, guessing who is actually out there. Guessing who is in need of services. Guessing individuals situations. How can this possibly be reliable? And these counts don’t take into consideration those who have managed to find a bed for the night, either on a friends sofa or in a hostel. The people who may not necessarily be counted as ”sleeping rough” one night may most certainly be back on the street the next.
But what do these statistics really do? Yes, they are open to the public to view online and show fluctuations over the years, but what impact does this truly make. How is this helping the situation? Surely it is just emphasising the problem that England has. It shows that the number of rough sleepers has more than doubled in the last six years (according to the Department for Communities and Local Government). How is this acceptable? As a society, do we just see a table or graph and not think of the individuals who are directly affected by what the statistics are portraying?
Hugo’s Earthquake thinks there is a lot more local authorities can be doing to support the homeless. As a campaign we recognise that these published figures massively under-represent the current problem we are facing, as an ”on looking society”, and we are have been campaigning to get more frequent and physical counts to produce additional and as accurate statistics as possible since the launch of ‘Somewhere in Summer’ in 2016. We would like to give agencies more ongoing support to fulfil these demands of extra counts which would benefit from being done every three months to grasp the true fluctuation and the situations of the homeless who are sleeping rough.
We will continue working alongside local authorities to raise awareness, give information and support those who reach out to us and together we will continue to humanise and help those in need.


Chloe Bell.
For more information or to contact the Press Office, please email press@hugosearthquake.org.



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