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New research from the national homelessness charity Crisis has unearthed shocking findings about the most common yet misunderstood form of homelessness – sofa surfing. Sofa surfing is characterised by a ‘permanent impermanence’. The term itself does little to capture the complex realities and frequent transitions that are a reality of it, nor the consequences produced. These include: insecurity, poor living conditions, abuse and exploitation, risk to personal safety, health impacts and intensifying multiple needs and exclusions.
The report, based on interviews with 114 people who had experienced sofa surfing, shines a light on the horrific effects on a person’s mental and physical health, eroding their relationships and leaving them trapped sleeping on sofas and floors in the long term with no viable way out. The research also reveals the root causes forcing people to sofa surf in the first place.