Rough sleep figures hit record high - but government still 'underestimating' true number

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Local authorities estimated there was around 4,751 rough sleepers on a single night in autumn 2017.

"To break the homelessness cycle once and for all, we are providing over £1billion of funding, supporting rough sleepers with the most complex needs through a new Housing First approach and bringing in the most ambitious legislation in decades that will mean people get the support they need earlier".

The figure has risen 15-per-cent since the same time in 2016, and is significantly higher than the 2,744 figure recorded in 2014.

The West Midlands and the east of England saw a two per cent increase in the number of people sleeping rough, while stark rises were seen in Yorkshire and the Humber of 20 per cent, the East Midlands of 23 per cent, and the south east of England by 17 per cent since 2016.

The number of people sleeping rough on the streets of Hastings rose to its highest number on record in 2017, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

Fourteen per cent of the total number of people sleeping rough are estimated to be women, while 16 per cent are European Union nationals from outside the UK.

The figures, based on snapshot street counts and paper estimates by local authorities, show that London, where figures rose by 18%, remains the centre of rough sleeping, accounting for almost a quarter of all rough sleepers.

A MHCLG spokesman said: "No one should ever have to sleep rough; that's why this Government is committed to halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it altogether by 2027".

"It's also crucial to remember that rough sleeping is only the tip of the iceberg and hundreds of thousands more are stuck in temporary accommodation or sofa surfing".

Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, urged that the true number of rough sleepers was far greater after its own research found that more than 8,000 people were now sleeping rough across England.

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