what is sofa surfing?

When a young person is made homeless, quite often people step in to try and prevent them from sleeping on the streets. These are usually friends and family but can be acquaintances.  However, these people can not offer suitable., safe long-term accommodation. 

 

The term 'sofa surfing' was coined because young people homeless people tend to be offered sofas to sleep on. People tend to want to help young people, but they simply do not have the room on a long-term basis. This leads to young people bouncing around from place to place, spending a few nights here and a few nights there. 

If young people are doing this for long periods, they often experience stress and stress-related physical and mental health problems. Imagine not knowing where you are going to sleep from one night to the next - potentially ringing around all your friends and family regularly to try and find somewhere - so you don't have to sleep on the street. 

Usually, the longer young people are 'sofa surfing' the harder it is for them to find somewhere to stay, having used up all their contacts, and potentially with stress or trauma related problems that impact social relationships.

Often when young people come to us at Bardsley Youth Project, they are 'sofa surfing' or 'crashing' with a mate. They've sometimes struggled to get support accessing housing because they don't fit a certain vulnerability bracket, or have had difficulty accessing the housing system. Some of these young people haven't accessed the housing system because they simply hadn't realised they were classed as homeless,  because they might not be spending nights on the street.

 

'Sofa surfing' is sometimes referred to as the 'hidden homeless' because people / authorities can't see them  on the street, so often don't realise they need help.

If you are aged 16-25, in Coventry and are 'sofa surfing' you can contact Bardsley Youth Project for Support

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