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Homelessness on the rise

Words: Laura Edgar
Homeless / iStock-539478350

Three hundred and twenty thousand people are recorded as homeless in Britain – an increase of 13,000 people over the last year.

This means one in every 200 people in Britain is homeless and sleeping on the streets, or stuck in temporary accommodation such as hostels and B&Bs, despite government attempts to reduce homelessness.

The figures were compiled by the homelessness charity Shelter for its annual review, and combined official rough-sleeping, temporary accommodation and social service figures. While these are not definitive, Shelter says the true extent of homelessness is even greater.

London reported the highest levels of homelessness – 170,000 people (one in 52) do not have a place to call home. In Brighton, one in 67 are homeless; one in 73 is homeless in Birmingham and one 135 in Manchester.

Homelessness in Great Britain: The Numbers Behind the Story warns the level of homelessness is down to unaffordable rents, frozen housing benefits and a severe shortage of social housing.

Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter said: “It’s unforgivable that 320,000 people in Britain have been swept up by the housing crisis and now have no place to call home. These new figures show that homelessness is having a devastating impact on the lives of people right across the country.  

“Due to the perfect storm of spiralling rents, welfare cuts and a total lack of social housing, record numbers of people are sleeping out on the streets or stuck in the cramped confines of a hostel room. We desperately need action now to change tomorrow for the hundreds of thousands whose lives will be blighted by homelessness this winter.  

“Shelter’s services have never been more needed. That’s why we’re asking the public to support us this winter so that we can answer as many calls as possible and have trained advisers on hand when people need them most.”

Image credit | iStock