Shelter launches urgent appeal after new report reveals depth of homelessness crisis
The number of people recorded as homeless in the South West has reached 11,260 a shocking new report by Shelter reveals.
In the most extensive review of its kind, the housing charity combined official rough-sleeping, temporary accommodation and social services figures, which showed the number of homeless people in the region has increased by 11% in a year. However, as government records are not definitive, the true figure of homelessness is likely to be even higher.
To identify where the problem is most acute in the South West, the charity mapped the top 20 hotspots in the region with the highest levels of homelessness. Bristol topped the list where 1 in every 170 people are homeless. This was followed by Swindon (1 in 246), Gloucester (1 in 303), and Exeter (1 in 367).
Shelter has launched an urgent appeal in response to the mounting crisis, calling on the public to support its frontline advisers as they work tirelessly to help people to stay in their home or find a new one.
Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter said: “It’s shocking to think that today, thousands of people in the South West are waking up homeless. Some will have spent the night shivering on a cold pavement, others crammed into a dingy, hostel room with their children. And what is worse, many are simply unaccounted for.
“On a daily basis, we speak to people and families who are desperately trying to escape the devastating trap of homelessness. A trap that is tightening thanks to decades of failure to build enough affordable homes and the impact of welfare cuts.
“As this crisis continues to unfold, the work of our frontline advisers remains absolutely critical. We will do all we can to make sure no-one is left to fight homelessness on their own. But we cannot achieve this alone; we urgently need the public’s support to be there for everyone who needs us right now.”
The charity’s report also shows just how hard it can be to escape homelessness amid a drought of affordable homes and welfare reforms, such as the four-year freeze on housing benefit.
Across England, over a third of people currently living in temporary accommodation will still be homeless in a year’s time.
To support Shelter’s urgent appeal please visit www.shelter.org.uk or text SHELTER to 70080 to donate £3.