COVID-19 has changed the way we all live our lives.

The pandemic has meant that we’re all having to stay at home more than usual – but what happens if you don’t have a place you can call your own? What happens if you’ve been sleeping on a friend’s sofa because you have no home to go to?

Even if you have a roof over your head, you could still be homeless – and that applies just as much now as it will when the pandemic eventually comes to an end.

You might also be living in a hostel or an overcrowded house because you have nowhere else to go.

Many young people in these situations don’t realise that they are homeless and that they are actually experiencing what’s known as ‘hidden homelessness’.

If you don’t have anywhere to call home or are concerned that you, or someone you know is at risk of becoming homeless, don’t wait to seek help.

Contact Shelter Cymru today.

Housing advice helpline

It’s never too late or too early to get help

In partnership with


Call our expert housing helpline on

08000 495 495

Chat to one of our advisers using our

instant messaging service

Under 25 and need housing advice?

Our advice for young people section provides free, up to date, independent advice on lots of common housing problems, including being behind on your rent, managing your money or setting up your first home.

The help we provide

My name is Finty and I’m a volunteer for Llamau’s Youth Homeless Helpline. I answer calls to the helpline from young people who are experiencing homelessness, or who are worried that they or a person they know is at risk of homelessness. I provide free, confidential and non-judgmental advice to help them access support and keep themselves safe.

You don’t have to be sleeping on the streets to be homeless.

Even if you have a roof over your head you can still be homeless. Perhaps you are sofa surfing at a friends’ place, or staying somewhere temporarily like a hostel, night shelter or bed & breakfast. It might be that you are living in very poor conditions or somewhere that’s not suitable for you or your family.

If you don’t have a place to call home it is likely that you are experiencing ‘hidden homelessness’.

Someone you know might be at risk of, or experiencing, hidden homelessness. Common triggers include :

  • A recent relationship breakdown
  • Family troubles
  • Job loss
  • Physical or mental health problems.

People who are hidden homeless might be moving every few days, for example, from one friend to another. They might be asking for help with money and using food banks.

Those experiencing hidden homelessness are more likely to be at risk of exploitation. For example, they might be targeted by people who want to pressurise them into sex or unwaged labour in exchange for a roof over their head.

Some people might commit crimes in the hope of being taken into custody.

There is a strong link between homelessness and poverty. People on low incomes are more likely to experience all forms of homelessness.

Young people leaving the care system, and people with mental health issues are more likely to experience hidden homelessness.

But we don’t know how many people are affected by hidden homelessness; there are no statistics. The very nature of hidden homelessness dictates that it is impossible to properly measure the scale of the problem.

Speak to them and tell them to get help from an adviser as soon as they can. An adviser might be able to help them find a way to get back into suitable accommodation and can put them in touch with the local council’s homelessness team.

The council has to give help and advice to anyone experiencing hidden homelessness and might have to provide them with somewhere more suitable to stay whilst they decide what other help they can give.

Shelter Cymru are here to help you. You can get in touch with us by:

You can also instantly message our advisers between 10am and 2pm, Monday to Friday by opening the chatbox in the bottom left corner of the screen.

Shelter Cymru is Wales’ people and homes charity.

We work for people in housing need by providing free, independent, expert housing advice and we campaign to overcome the barriers which stand in the way of people in Wales having a decent, secure home.

If you are worried about a young person or need advice, use the contact buttons above to get in touch today.