307,000 people in England are now homeless – more than the entire population of Brighton & Hove – a study released by Shelter revealed this week.
The damning report found that one in every 200 people across the country is currently homeless. This total includes visible rough sleepers, single people in hostels, and households owed a statutory homeless duty by local authorities and social services.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It’s shocking to think that today, more than 300,000 people in Britain are waking up homeless. Some will have spent the night shivering on a cold pavement; others crammed into a dingy, hostel room with their children. And what is worse, many are simply unaccounted for.”
62% of single homeless people are considered ‘hidden homeless’ and may not show up in official statistics. Of the 50 districts surveyed with the highest number of rough sleepers, all of the top 10 are in London. Newham ranked first, with 1 in every 25 people being recorded as homeless. Haringey followed close behind with 1 in 29 and Westminster with 1 in 31.
The news coincides with the launch of StreetSmart’s annual Christmas fundraiser for homeless people. At participating restaurants during November and December, diners can donate a voluntary pound which will go towards local homeless projects in their area. Restaurants participating in Westminster & Victoria, which was ranked in the top three worst areas for homelessness, include Quilon, Rail House Café, bbar, Osteria dell’Angolo, Santini, The English Grill and Roux at Parliament Square.
Salvatore D’ Auria, the General Manager of Osteria dell’Angolo, said: “We’re delighted to be continuing our support of StreetSmart again this year. With such a big increase in homelessness in our local area, giving back this Christmas seems that bit more important.”
The alarming results are not limited to London, but are spread across the country: Brighton, Birmingham and Manchester also featured in the top 50.
Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, recently pledged his support to the campaign: “I’m so grateful to StreetSmart for joining up with us this year. All the money raised will directly support our fight against rough sleeping and homelessness in Manchester. So we just encourage anyone that’s dining out this winter to check the StreetSmart website, find the participating restaurants, have a good time, and give your support to ending homelessness.”
The campaign runs from November 1 to December 31. For a full list of participating restaurants, please visit http://streetsmart.org.uk/restaurants/