Friday, 22 June, 2018

"Shameful" rise in homelessness across England for seventh consecutive year

Number of homeless people is now highest it has been since records began Record numbers of people are now sleeping rough new figures have revealed
Becky Salazar | 28 January, 2018, 01:08

The figure has risen 15-per-cent since the same time in 2016, and is significantly higher than the 2,744 figure recorded in 2014. The data is an estimate based on counts by support workers, police, charities and church groups who reported to local authorities.

Responding to the figures chief executive of Shelter Polly Neate, said: "These figures expose the worst pain inflicted by our housing crisis".

Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, urged that the true number of rough sleepers was far greater after its own research found that more than 8,000 people were now sleeping rough across England.

While Crisis welcomes the Government's commitment to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it by 2027, it is urging it to take immediate action through its Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Taskforce to tackle this emergency situation and help the thousands of people forced to sleep in risky conditions every single night. Rough sleeping has increased by 169% since reporting began in 2010. Heather Wheeler, the new Minister for Housing and Homelessness needs to bring government departments together to find solutions to end the scandal of rough sleeping and homelessness.

- Nationally, 20% of people sleeping rough were non-UK nationals. Prevention is key and that's where we hope the Homelessness Reduction Act will make more of an impact, alongside support for those at risk of returning to the streets, such as hostels and new initiatives like Housing First.

Chief Executive of Crisis Jon Sparkes said, "It is truly a catastrophe that in a country as prosperous as this, more and more people are finding themselves forced to sleep in risky and freezing conditions, when we have evidence to show how the situation could be turned around".

As the official figures rise, homeless people have taken matters into their own hands, occupying empty buildings and setting up D.I.Y. night shelters.

Asked why more people are sleeping rough, Mr Quagliozzi answered: "We've a ideal storm over the last few years where rising rents - particularly in the private rental sector, wages not going up as fast of those rents and welfare reform are contributing to a very bleak picture".

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