More than 300,000 people are now sleeping rough in Britain after the number of people losing their homes soared in the last year, a study, by the housing charity Shelter has revealed.
The study found that 307,000, or one in every 200, people are now homeless.
Shelter highlighted how local authorities are struggling to find affordable homes for people they have a statutory obligation to help, adding that more than a third of those currently living in temporary accommodation will still be homeless in a year’s time.
The Independent reports: Although the figure has risen by 13,000 in the last year alone, Shelter said the partial nature of government data means the real number of homeless people is likely to be even higher.
Government welfare changes, including the introduction of Universal Credit and cuts to housing benefit, are partly to blame for the crisis, the charity said.
It added that a “drought” of affordable homes had also made it particularly hard for people to escape homelessness.
The surge in the number of people becoming homeless is especially stark in some areas of the country, with London bearing the brunt of the crisis.
The problem is most acute in the borough of Newham, where one in every 25 people is homeless. The boroughs of Haringey (one in 29), Westminster (one in 31) and Enfield (one in 33) follow not far behind.
While the 10 local authorities with the highest rates of homelessness, and 18 of the top 20, are in the capital, cities including Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol also feature in the 50 worst-affected areas.
The study is the most extensive of its kind to date and incorporates official statistics on how many people are sleeping rough, and how many are in temporary accommodation. Figures from social services were also used to compile the data.