Rough sleepers rise by a quarter

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A homelessness charity describes a steep rise in rough sleepers across the region as a ‘catastrophe’, particularly when the problem could be resolved.

The number of people sleeping rough in the East Midlands has increased by 23 per cent in the last year according to new figures from Crisis.

The Government’s official annual street count found on a given night last year 313 people were recorded sleeping rough in the region - more than double the 2010 figure.

Chief executive Jon Sparkes said: “It is truly a catastrophe that in a country as prosperous as this, more and more people are finding themselves forced to sleep in dangerous and freezing conditions, when we have evidence to show how the situation could be turned around.”

Crisis has published a review undertaken by Cardiff University and Heriot-Watt University finding the best ways to tackle the problem are as follows:

- Widely adopting a housing-led approach where housing someone is made priority.

- Taking swift action to quickly end street homelessness through interventions such as No Second Night Out.

- Taking a ‘person-centred’ approach by tailoring support to take individuals’ needs into account.

- Ensuring interventions take account of local housing markets and individuals’ needs.

Jon continued: “Rough sleeping ruins lives, leaving people vulnerable to violence and abuse, and taking a dreadful toll on mental and physical health. Our research has shown how rough sleepers are 17 times more likely to be victims of violence. This is no way for anyone to live.”