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23 Nov, 2018 16:35

One in 200 Britons homeless, new research shows 4% increase since 2017

One in 200 Britons homeless, new research shows 4% increase since 2017

The number of homeless Britons has soared to 320,000 in the first quarter of this year, with one in 200 either sleeping rough or in temporary accommodation, according to new research undertaken by homelessness charity Shelter.

Their report reveals that homelessness has risen by 13,000 since 2017, a 4% increase, rising by more than 1,000 a month. The spike in homelessness has been put down to a combination of UK government welfare cuts, a severe lack of social housing stock and sky-high rents.

Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive 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.”

Shelter says the figures are likely to be an underestimate, as they do not capture individuals who experience “hidden” homelessness, such as sofa-surfers, or those living insecurely in cars or sheds for example.

London is the worst affected region in the UK, with a total of 167,853 people classed as homeless, around one in every 53 people. When it comes to other cities and regions outside of the capital, Brighton on the south coast with one in 67, Birmingham in the Midlands with one in 73, and Manchester in the northwest with one in every 135, are notable for their high levels of homelessness.

The borough of Newham in east London is ranked as England’s number one hotspot for homelessness, with one in every 24 people in housing insecurity. Over 14,500 people were found to be in temporary accommodation and 76 were sleeping rough.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire insisted the government remained steadfast in tackling the scourge of homelessness but admitted more could be done. He said they are “committed to working with Shelter and others to make a positive difference.”

It is Shelter’s third annual report on homelessness in the UK. In 2016, it estimated there were 255,000 homeless people in England alone, a figure it subsequently adjusted to 294,000 for the UK. This increased to 307,000 in 2017.

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