The number of people sleeping rough in the UK is more than double what government statistics suggest.
Over 24,000 people will be spending the festive season sleeping rough or in cars, trains, buses or tents, according to new research.
Research by the the national homelessness charity Crisis, has shed some light on the scale of ‘hidden’ homelessness. They say that 12,300 people are sleeping rough on the streets as a further 12,000 spend the nights in tents, cars, sheds, bins or night buses.
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The number of rough sleepers has increased massively over the past five years, according to Crisis which commissioned the study from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
The official figure for those sleeping on the streets is 4,751
The Guardian reports: The figures suggest formal estimates of rough sleeping fail to capture the true scale of the problem. The Crisis figures, calculated by specialist researchers at Heriot-Watt University, suggest the number of rough sleepers in Britain has risen by 98% since 2010, and the number in tents and buses has increased by 103%.
The rough sleeping increases are more pronounced in England, at 120%, while in Scotland numbers have declined by 5% since 2010. In Wales, rough sleeping is estimated to have increased by 75% over the period.
The chief executive of Crisis, Jon Sparkes, said: “Christmas should be a time of joy, but for thousands of people sleeping rough, in tents or on public transport it will be anything but. While most of the country will be celebrating and enjoying a family meal, those who are homeless will face a struggle just to stay safe and escape the cold.
“This situation simply cannot continue. While the Scottish government has taken the first step in announcing a plan to eradicate homelessness, full implementation cannot come soon enough. Meanwhile, the governments in England and Wales must step up urgently with their own plans to end this crisis.”