320,000 People are Homeless Across Britain, Says Shelter

November 23, 2018

At least 320,000 people are homeless across England, Scotland and Wales, according to the latest figures compiled by Shelter.

The homelessness charity says that there has been a 4 per cent increase in the number of people who don’t have their own home over the course of the last year.

Most of the hundreds of thousands of people who are classed as homeless live in temporary accommodation but the figures also include thousands of rough sleepers.

Shelter says that its headline figure on homelessness could well be an underestimate because there are so many others living in their cars or on someone else’s sofa and they therefore aren’t being captured by the official data.

Despite pledges from the government that efforts would be made to bring down homelessness, as many as one in 200 people across Britain are now believed to be without a permanent home of their own.

Shelter has suggested that rising levels of homelessness are the result of a “perfect storm” of spiralling rent costs, the impact of welfare cuts and major shortfalls in social housing stocks.

“Record numbers of people are sleeping out on the streets or stuck in the cramped confines of a hostel room,” said Shelter’s chief executive Polly Neate in a statement.

“We desperately need action now to change tomorrow for the hundreds of thousands whose lives will be blighted by homelessness this winter.”

Housing and communities minister James Brokenshire MP has said that the UK government is working with local councils and “those working on the frontline” to help get homeless people off the streets and into accommodation.

Shadow housing minister and Labour Party MP Melanie Onn has described the scale of homelessness currently in evidence across the country as “appalling”.

“It is appalling that enough people to fill a city the size of Newcastle will wake up this Christmas without a home,” she said in response to the release of Shelter’s latest figures.

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