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More than 300,000 people homeless in Britain today

Shelter and Shelter Scotland launch urgent appeal after revealing depth of homelessness crisis.

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The number of people recorded as homeless in Britain has reached 307,000 – more than half the population of Glasgow – shocking new analysis by Shelter and Shelter Scotland reveals today.

In the most extensive review of its kind, the housing and homelessness charity combined official rough-sleeping, temporary accommodation and social services figures. This showed the number of homeless people in Britain has increased by 13,000 in a year, but as government records are not definitive, the true figure is likely to be even higher.

In Scotland last year, there were 28,297 households assessed as homeless and, at any one time, there were 10,873 households in temporary accommodation. It is estimated that 5,000 people sleep rough on Scotland’s streets throughout the year.

Shelter and Shelter Scotland have launched an urgent appeal in response to this mounting crisis, calling on the public to support its frontline advisers as they work to help people to stay in their home or find a new one.

Alison Watson, Deputy Director of Shelter Scotland, said:

“It’s shocking to think that today, more than 300,000 people in Britain are waking up homeless. Some will have spent the night sleeping rough on our streets or in unsuitable temporary accommodations, while others were crammed into dingy hostels or bed and breakfasts – some with their children. Shockingly, many are simply unaccounted for. 

“On a daily basis, we speak to hundreds of people and families who are desperately trying to escape the devastating trap of homelessness. A trap that is tightening thanks to decades of failure to build enough affordable homes and the impact of harsh welfare cuts which are now, for many, being compounded by the roll-out of Universal Credit.

“As this crisis continues to unfold, the work of our frontline services remains absolutely critical. We will do all we can to make sure no-one is left to fight homelessness on their own. But we cannot achieve this alone; we urgently need the public’s support to be there for everyone who needs us this winter.