“At least 320,000 people are homeless in Britain, according to research by the housing charity Shelter.
This amounts to a year-on-year increase of 13,000, a 4% rise, despite government pledges to tackle the crisis. The estimate suggests that nationally one in 200 people are homeless.
Shelter says its figures, which include rough sleepers and people in temporary accommodation, are likely to be an underestimate of the problem as they do not capture people who experience “hidden” homelessness, such as sofa-surfers, and others living insecurely in sheds or cars, for example.
Newham in east London is ranked as England’s number one homelessness hotspot, with at least one in every 24 people in housing insecurity. More than 14,500 people were in temporary accommodation in the borough, and 76 were sleeping rough.
In the capital as a whole, 170,000 people – equivalent to one in 52 – have no home. Westminster had the most rough sleepers, 217, followed by Camden, with 127. In Kensington and Chelsea, the UK’s richest borough, there were over 5,000 homeless people – equivalent to one in every 29 residents.
The figures indicate how homelessness and housing insecurity is spreading beyond its traditional heartland of London into the wider south-east and Midlands, and the impact of high rents and welfare cuts ripples outwards.
Outside the capital, high homelessness rates were recorded in Birmingham, Luton, Brighton & Hove, Slough, Dartford, Milton Keynes, Harlow, Watford, Epsom, Reading, Broxbourne, Basildon, Peterborough and Coventry.”