Crisis report: the reality of sofa surfing in Britain today

‘There are 71,400 homeless families and individuals forced to sofa surf across Great Britain on any given night.’

This is from a December 2019 report for Crisis into ‘sofa-surfing’ in Britain. The research is based on interviews with 114 people with current or recent experience of sofa surfing, and aims to shine a light on one of the most common but least understood forms of homelessness.

The report found that those sofa surfing are more likely to come from other insecure housing situations, such as rough sleeping, and return to similar situations after sofa surfing. Those interviewed described a ‘permanent impermanence’, with frequent transitions and damaging consequences for their lives.

The experiences described by participants made it harder for many of them to seek support and to find jobs, and were often detrimental to both their physical and mental health.

Recommendations to avoid more people having to sofa surf included better access to affordable housing, and help with addressing support needs.

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