Almost 30,000 people now homeless in south east of England, figures show

A HOMELESSNESS charity says that new figures on rough sleeping in the south east are ‘unforgivable’, after it discovered that 29,591 are homeless in the region.

New analysis from Shelter shows that the number of homeless people in the region has increased by more than 1,000 people compared to last year.

A rough sleeper in Portsmouth. Pitcure: David George

A rough sleeper in Portsmouth. Pitcure: David George

In the south east, Brighton and Hove was identified as the area with the worst rate of homelessness – though Gosport was also in the top 10.

According to Shelter, one in every 222 people in the borough are currently homeless.

Shelter services manager Ben Tovey said: ‘It’s unforgivable that thousands of people in the South East have been swept up by the housing crisis and now have no place to call home.

‘These new figures show that homelessness is having a devastating impact on the lives of people right across the region.

‘Due to the perfect storm of spiralling rents, welfare cuts and a total lack of social housing, record numbers of people are sleeping out on the streets or stuck in the cramped confines of a hostel room.

‘We desperately need action now to change tomorrow for the hundreds of thousands whose lives will be blighted by homelessness this winter.’

In Gosport, the council has been working with homeless charity Two Saints to try and combat rough sleeping in the city.

Regional director James McDermott said: We’ve seen an increase in numbers of rough sleepers across all our areas of operation.

‘Our services in Fareham and Gosport include hostel accommodation, emergency beds, community support and outreach to rough sleepers.

‘We’re delighted that Fareham and Gosport Borough Councils have funded additional beds over the winter months, and would encourage anyone finding themselves rough sleeping to take advantage of this extra provision and the specialist support we can offer.’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage added: 'I am really pleased to see that Gosport’s homelessness figure has reduced in the last year, however it is entirely unacceptable that in modern Britain people are faced with the fear of sleeping rough.

‘I have regular contact with both Gosport Borough Council and Gosport Police on Gosport’s Homeless Action Group and I’m encouraged that they continue to try and engage individuals in the support services available to them.

‘I’d encourage anyone with concerns regarding homelessness to get in touch with Gosport Borough Council’s Housing Team on 023 9254 5476.'