But you don’t LOOK homeless.

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By Rebecca Barnes

Publisher, Prince William Living Magazine

When you hear the word homeless, it may conjure images of people living on the streets. Perhaps thoughts of unemployment, drug use, alcoholism, or mental health issues. And while all of these can play a part in an individual being homeless, these are not the only factors. In fact, you might be surprised at who you know that has been or is currently experiencing homelessness. 

There is a type of homelessness known as “provisionally occupied” or “hidden homelessness” that goes undocumented and unreported in most cases.  This group of people typically do not access homeless services or support, so they don’t appear in homeless statistics. 

I know because I am one.

If you follow me, you know I am not afraid to share my personal life when I think it will benefit others. I was very candid about my cancer ordeal and the repercussions both to my health and finances. Now that we are on (hopefully) the tail end of the pandemic, I am seeing many more people suffering from hidden homelessness than before, so it’s time to speak out, to break people out of their preconceived notion of what homelessness is, what it looks like and who it affects.  

Over the next few months, we will be covering stories on homelessness, food insecurity, mental health issues, and other repercussions of the pandemic that have and will continue to affect our community. I hope you will join me in this ongoing discussion while working on solutions, finding resources, being empathetic, and using kindness every day. 

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