The trauma of going through this experience is exposed in new research by the charity which reveals 61% of people who have experienced homelessness or the threat of homelessness said that it directly led to a stress-related illness, while 70% said they spent most of their time worrying about it.
The research also explored how the general public would feel if they were to face losing their home. When asked to rate the severity of certain life experiences, being threatened with homelessness came out as a more severe experience to go through than being burgled, assaulted, or having to fight over children following divorce.
To illustrate the devastating impact of homelessness, Shelter has launched a new campaign which features six people who were either homeless last Christmas or who are living under the threat of homelessness right now. Through their personal stories the charity aims to show how homelessness, or living under the threat of homelessness, can tear families apart.
Natalie, who features in the new advert, became homeless last year and ended up in a hostel for six months with her young daughter.
She said: "When I found myself homeless at Christmas it truly was a real low point. It’s not something you think you will ever have to go through but the reality is it can happen so easily. I became depressed and just couldn’t face each day with nowhere to call home. Thank goodness I am now out of that situation and have a permanent roof over my head. I really wouldn’t wish it on anyone."
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter said: "This research shows the shocking impact that homelessness has on people’s lives. We know only too well that being made homelessness, or living each day under the constant threat of homelessness, is a horrific experience that can tear families apart.
"And with someone facing losing their home every two minutes, the reality is this is a fate that could happen to anyone of us. All it takes is one small thing, such as an illness or financial trouble, and things can soon spiral out of control. Whilst this research shows people can barely comprehend having to go through this experience, it’s possible that 35,000 people could face this prospect between now and Christmas day."
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