First News - - Big News - by Jane Tar­rant

THE num­ber of peo­ple with­out homes who have been forced to sleep on the streets jumped to record highs last year.

More and more rough sleep­ers un­able to find a bed for the night can be found in shop door­ways and tents in towns all over the coun­try. Of­fi­cial fig­ures show that 4,751 were counted at the end of last year, but home­less char­i­ties such as Cri­sis, say that the num­bers are much higher. A fur­ther 9,000 peo­ple are thought to be sleep­ing in tents, cars, trains and buses.

Jon Sparkes, the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of Cri­sis said: “It is truly a catas­tro­phe.”

Both men and women are sleep­ing in freez­ing and dan­ger­ous con­di­tions be­cause they have nowhere else to go. There are nowhere near enough places at night in hos­tels for ev­ery­one to stay in­side – and the prob­lem is get­ting worse.

Most rough sleep­ers are over the age of 25 and there are lots of rea­sons why they end up on the streets. It can be down to their rent go­ing up, break­ing up with a part­ner, ill­ness or los­ing their job. What­ever the rea­son, the street is a cold and un­friendly place to be, es­pe­cially in win­ter.

The Govern­ment says that it aims to end rough sleep­ing by 2027. There will be more money to deal with the prob­lem and a task force to find new ways to help the home­less.

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