Numbers of British homeless greater than population of Newcastle, says Shelter

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Homeless people in Britain now outnumber the population of Newcastle, a leading housing charity has said.

The total number of homeless people jumped by 13,000 year-on-year to 307,000, a new Shelter report has revealed.

Its review - which combines official rough-sleeping and temporary accommodation figures and social services figures - is reportedly the most extensive of its kind.

The population of the Newcastle upon Tyne local authority area is 296,478, according to a 2016 mid-year Office for National Statistics estimate.

Chief executive Polly Neate said thousands were stuck trying to "escape the devastating trap of homelessness", pointing to "decades of failure" on building affordable homes and the effects of recent welfare cuts.

She said: "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."

The Government was recently criticised by the public spending watchdog for failing to effectively tackle the rocketing homelessness that has been partly fuelled by its own welfare reforms.

Households in temporary accommodation in England
(PA graphics)

A snapshot overnight count last autumn recorded 4,134 rough sleepers, a 134% hike since the Conservatives took power, the National Audit Office (NAO) said.

Some 77,240 households - including 120,540 children - were in temporary accommodation in March, it added.

The ending of private sector tenancies has become the main cause of homelessness in England, rather than changes in personal circumstances such as relationship breakdowns, with a threefold increase in numbers since 2010/11, the NAO found.

One in 200 people in England is homeless, Shelter said, adding it had mapped 50 "hotspots" across the UK showing where the "epidemic" was most critical.

In Enfield, there are currently 3,244 households in temporary accommodation, homelessness is rising and our housing system is broken! pic.twitter.com/G58DEGsTSV

-- Kate Osamor (@KateOsamor) November 7, 2017

Newham, East London, had the highest rates - with one in every 25 people reportedly homeless.

The report, Far From Alone: Homelessness In Britain In 2017, estimates total numbers of homeless people using the latest available data from various sources including the Government, charities, and social services.

To support Shelter's appeal, visit www.shelter.org.uk or text SHELTER to 70080 to donate £3.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "We are determined to tackle all forms of homelessness, which includes making sure people in temporary accommodation are getting support to keep a roof over their heads.

"We're investing £950 million by 2020 to support these efforts, and bringing in the Homelessness Reduction Act. This requires councils to provide early support to people at risk of being left without anywhere to go."