Coventry charity says homelessness figures increase is 'the tip of the iceberg' - The Coventry Observer

Coventry charity says homelessness figures increase is 'the tip of the iceberg'

Coventry Editorial 5th Mar, 2023   0

A COVENTRY homelessness charity has expressed concern at statistics released this week revealing the number of people sleeping rough on the city’s streets has increased by eight per cent in the past year.

New stats also show 13 people were estimated to be sleeping rough on Coventry’s streets on a single night last Autumn, up from 12 the previous year- only five of the West Midlands 30 local authorities had a higher figure.

This is the second year in a row that homeless numbers in the city have increased.

The government figures were released on Tuesday by the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities.

The data was collected by Coventry City Council as part of the government’s 2022 rough sleeping snapshot, which attempts to give a picture of the number of people sleeping rough during a single autumn night in local authorities across England.

In 2020 during the height of the pandemic, government and local authority efforts reduced Coventry’s official rough sleeping count to eight.

Emmaus Coventry and Warwickshire provide a home, support and meaningful work for up to 17 people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion.

It’s chief executive Julian Price said the rise is of great concern- and warned these figures were just the tip of the iceberg.

“Today’s figures are worrying and show that this is a problem that shouldn’t be ignored.

“Homelessness is all around us and so much of it isn’t visible.

“With the cost-of-living crisis deepening, we know that so many people are living in insecure or unsuitable accommodation, are having to sofa surf or are doing whatever they can to stay warm and dry over the winter months.”

A spokesperson for the Council said although the number of rough sleepers had increased by one over the past year, this was against a backdrop of a 26 per cent increase nationally, and in 2019 the authority found 23 rough sleepers.

“Although this year’s figure was the sixth highest among the 30 local authorities in the West Midlands, it should be noted that we are the second largest of those 30 and so it is not surprising that we have one of the highest numbers of rough sleepers.”


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