"Sleeping rough" is the most extreme form of homelessness. It means living on the street or in alleys, beside garbage bins, in public spaces, sheltered over heating ducts or in any other place not meant for human habitation. It is usually a last resort for homeless people.
Places we might find people/families sleeping rough:
- on the street
- in doorways
- in the coulees
- bus shelters
- cardboard boxes
- beside garbage dumpsters
- dilapidated buildings
- under loading docks
According to the most recent SHIA Homeless Census, evidence of people sleeping rough in our community has significantly decreased.
It goes without saying that sleeping rough is extremely difficult and dangerous. People sleeping rough don’t know where their next meal is coming from or where they are going to sleep that night. There is nowhere to store or protect their belongings. There may be nowhere to maintain personal hygiene.
Life on the street poses many dangers, including:
- risk of illness or death due to weather conditions
- being assaulted, robbed or worse
- falling into illegal activity to obtain money
- risk contact with unsanitary situations/conditions
- risk exposure to an unsafe or hazardous environment
People sleeping rough may represent a small percentage of our homeless population, but they are perhaps our community’s most vulnerable men, women, youth and children.