STREET homelessness in Coventry is up by nearly 50 per cent in a year – three times higher than the national increase.
Snapshot figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) show the rise of people sleeping rough on the streets of Coventry.
Homelessness charity Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire says this rise is ‘worrying’, especially when compared to the annual increase of 16% across England.
The data was collected by Coventry City Council as part of a national survey for the government’s DCLG department.
Geraldine Tsakirakis, community director of Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire, said: “The 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. We strongly believe that these figures are just the tip of the iceberg.
“So many people are camping, sofa surfing and doing whatever they can to stay warm and dry over the winter months.”
The newly published figures are contained in the DCLG’s ‘Rough Sleeping Statistics Autumn 2016, England’ report.
The data is taken from a single night snapshot of rough sleeping that is taken annually in England using street counts.
The total number of rough sleepers counted and estimated in England for Autumn 2016 was 4,134.
There was an increase of three per cent in London from the previous year, and 21 per cent in the rest of England.
The street count for Coventry was 13, compared with 9 the previous year.
Although the recorded numbers are low, a recent report by charity Shelter stated Coventry had 1677 homeless people living in hostels and other types of temporary accommodation.
The Shelter report placed Coventry in the country’s top 50 ‘homelessness hotspots’.
The Homelessness Reduction Bill going through the House of Commons, if passed, would be the first reform of England’s homelessness legislation in 40 years, Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire says.
It could prevent 40,000 people from becoming homeless each year, the charity estimates.
Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire, a social enterprise, provides a home and work for 25 people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion.
The charity is supported by its two second-hand furniture shop, along with its other social enterprises including a gardening service and the collection of bulky waste on behalf of Coventry council.
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