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World Homeless Day 2022

For World Homeless Day, our Common Ambition steering group, made up of people with lived experience, addressed misconceptions about homelessness, and discussed definitions of homelessness, and what “home” means to them. Finally, they looked at ways for people to get involved and make a difference.

The Common Ambition steering group at a table, filling out and discussing post it notes
Green post-it note, saying What is a Home to You?

A definition of homelessness?

Common Ambition‘s lived-experience groups cover many different aspects of the project’s work – as well as designing improvements to Brighton’s homeless health system, there is a media and comms group that looks at how to communicate the project’s findings, and how to ensure the voice of people experiencing homelessness, is heard across the city.

For World Homeless Day 2022 on Monday 10th October, the steering group looked at common misconceptions about homelessness, and addressed these through statistics, mythbusting, and exploring what “home” and homelessness mean to them, comparing these to the official definitions out there.

A fantastic blog about misconceptions, by steering group members, is available on the Justlife website.

The First Special Rapporteur on housing enshrines the human right to adequate housing, as the right of every person to gain and sustain a safe and secure home and community in which to live in peace and dignity.

Human right to a home written out on poster paper and post-it notes:
post-it notes showing what a home means to you. Answers include

This way of framing “home” resonated with the group, and led to a discussion of what a secure home would mean to different members – these notes (pictured) illustrated some of the ways in which a secure home can provide a safe and restorative space, enabling both physical and mental wellbeing.

What is homelessness?

The group also looked at the official definition of homelessness, and related it to their own lived experience.

Sleeping on the streets is just the tip of the iceberg; in contrast to a secure home, homelessness might mean living somewhere “so bad it causes physical and mental health issues”. It can be frightening, and can lead to loneliness and trust issues.

This snapshot, from the steering group of experts by experience, offers an insight into the feelings and experience that can go with being in a secure home, and the trauma of becoming homeless.

Post it notes with ideas on
Graphic from Brighton and Hove Common Ambition, saying: Over 280,000 people were homeless or at risk of homelessness in England in 2020-21.

The statistics reveal the sheer number of people facing homelessness, and the group’s work illustrates the reality that hundreds of thousands of people are currently facing in England. It is not just sleeping on the streets, but living in a precarious situation, one that is unsafe, unsuitable, at risk of being taken away.

Poverty and lack of affordable housing are major contributors in a person losing their home. This is in evidence in Brighton and Hove: from 2021 to 2022 there has been an 18% rise in people using emergency and affordable food networks in Brighton and Hove.

Graphic illustrating from Brighton and Hove Common Ambition, with the wording: From 2021 to 2022, there has been an 18% rise in people using emergency and affordable food networks in Brighton and Hove.
A steering group member holding up the workings of the group on a big poster - flip chart paper with post-it notes on it, with ideas about how people can get involved.

How can you help?

After exploring the statistics and definitions, the steering group looked at ideas of how people can make a difference, and get involved.


  • Talk to people and listen to others, don’t make assumptions
  • A simple hello will make us feel alive, noticed and that someone cares
  • We are a community that helps, supports and accepts everyone

Get involved

  • Fundraise for local organisations supporting people experiencing homelessness
  • Share information, posts and links to local organisations, events and fundraising drives in your local area

Get busy

  • Volunteer at a day centre or food bank
  • Share our posts and blogs to spread awareness
  • Come to our events (watch this space for our next event)

Anything helps

  • Take food to your local food bank
  • Take your unwanted clothes, bedding or towels to your local day centre
  • You can donate to a local or national homelessness charity or service

If you would like to be kept informed of what we’re up to, and any future events, please contact us and ask to be added to our mailing list.

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