What to watch on Monday, May 28th, 2012

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Britain's Hidden Homeless

BBC 3 at 9:00pm (Other show times...)

Britain‘s Hidden Homeless

Last year some 17,000 young people were classed by councils as homeless - but charities say the statistics fail to capture the scale of the problem. They estimate that the number of hidden homeless could be three times as high.

They're not on the streets, but they are unable to get a permanent roof over their heads. Instead they rely on friends and families, staying on sofas and floors or even camping in tents. Councils are only obliged to find accommodation for homeless young people if they are under 18, leaving local authority care, or have children. Many other homeless youngsters fall through the net.

In this documentary, British rap artist Speech Debelle, investigates this growing crisis and asks why increasing numbers of young people are struggling to find something as basic as a bed for the night.

Mercury prize winner and rapper Speech Debelle has experienced some of these issues herself. In her late teens, she left home to stay in homeless shelters and on friends' sofas. It was a dark point in her life when she was depressed and angry, but she turned to rapping, expressing her feelings in lyrics that would later win her awards and recognition by the music industry.

In this moving documentary, Speech Debelle finds out what it's like to be young and homeless in Britain today. She meets four very different people who show her that in today's society being homeless doesn't have to mean a cardboard box in a doorway.

As Speech travels to some of the UK's most affected places, she meets the growing population of Britain's Hidden Homeless. She looks at the practicalities of getting into permanent accommodation and finds out what help is available to them and the difficulties of accessing it, when you're young and 'not priority'. And, as Speech faces up to her own painful memories, she gains a deeper understanding of what it's like surviving as one of Britain's young homeless today.

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