Figures released show that rough sleeping in England has risen by 37 per cent since 2010.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) statistics showed a 5% rise on last year, with 2,414 people reported by local councils across the country as sleeping rough on any one night in 2013, up from 2,309 in 2012 and from 1,768 in 2010.
Independent research published by Crisis shows that a chronic shortage of affordable housing combined with cuts to housing benefit and homelessness services would see rough sleeping continue to rise across England.
Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said: “This continued rise in rough sleeping is unacceptable – behind these statistics are more and more real lives being devastated by the traumatic experience of homelessness. The Government must take real steps to address the chronic lack of affordable housing and urgently consider the impact its cuts are having, particularly to housing benefit and local homelessness services.”
The steepest regional rises were seen in the East Midlands and the South East, areas particularly affected by high housing costs and cuts to local services:
- In the East Midlands, 206 people were reported sleeping rough – a 50% rise on last year, including increases of 96% in Derby and 80% in Northampton
- In the South East, 532 people were reported sleeping rough – a 20% rise on last year, including increases of 275% in Slough and a 58% in Oxford
- Other cities and regions showing significant rises were Bristol (41 people sleeping rough, up 356%), Stoke-On-Trent (16 people, up 700%), Coventry (26 people, up 117%) and Cornwall (77 people, up 54%), many of which have seen deep cuts to local homelessness services
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