ALMOST a quarter-of-a-million people in England are currently homeless, research released by the charity Shelter indicates.
The data suggest that a “conservative” figure for the number of people living in temporary accommodation, or sleeping rough on the streets, is almost 225,000.
Shelter, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, compiled the findings through a combination of government data and exclusive statistics, obtained through Freedom of Information requests.
London is the worst area in the UK for homelessness: 18 boroughs are in Shelter’s list of the top 20 places where people are most at risk of becoming homeless.
Other homelessness “hotspots” outside the capital include Brighton, where Shelter estimates that one in 69 people are homeless, and Luton, where the figure is one in 63.
The Government has said that it does not recognise the figures, and that it has invested more than £500 million to help prevent or relieve homelessness.
The Government’s refusal to acknowledge the data comes a week after the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, spoke about how young people sleeping outside his office were a “very real, daily reminder of the challenge we face”.
Shelter’s website states that more than 120,000 children in Britain will be homeless this Christmas; the charity’s helpline receives a call every 30 seconds.
The chief executive of the Christian charity Housing Justice, Alison Gelder, said the Government’s refusal to recognise the figures was absurd when the findings were based on the Government’s sources. “Speaking to the . . . churches and faith communities that Housing Justice represents, the actual numbers are likely to be significantly higher.”
She said that, based on the Hidden Homelessness report ten years ago, which suggested that 400,000 people were homeless, the figure would now be nearer 500,000.
Housing Justice, in partnership with the Church Housing Trust and Jubilee Plus, will be holding a conference for all denominations to discuss working together to alleviate the homelessness issue.