‘Urgent’ appeal to help the homeless this winter

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The charity Shelter is urgently appealing for support with the services that they provide to address homelessness.

Recent figures suggest that 320,000 people in Britain are currently displaced.

The overall number increased by 13,000 within the last year.

The numbers reflect the reality of Britain’s declining housing crisis, despite the numerous government pledges to confront the issue.

The housing and homeless charity, Shelter, attributes this national crisis to a combination of “unaffordable rents, frozen housing benefits and a severe shortage of social housing”.

Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter says: “It’s unforgivable that 320,000 people in Britain have been swept up by the housing crisis and now have no place to call home. These new figures show that homelessness is having a devastating impact on the lives of people right across the country.” 

The highest levels of homelessness are reported in the capital city, London, with figures illustrating one in 52 people are without a place to call home.

Plenty of large cities outside the capital are also feeling the brunt of the crisis with figures showing one in 67 in Brighton, one in 73 in Birmingham and one in 135 in Manchester are impacted by homelessness.

Shelter lay their concerns in a recent report, ‘Homelessness in Great Britain: the numbers behind the story’ and warn that the true extent of homelessness is possibly greater as current figures are derived from social services, temporary accommodations and official rough-sleeping.

People can contribute to tackling homelessness with Shelter by responding to calls for help and assisting as trained advisors to people who require the service.

Telli Africk and his Family are at ‘Breaking Point’ after losing their home

Telli Africk, 30, is currently settled in his sixth hostel in Waltham Forest with his wife and two children, aged three and five.

The family became homeless after no longer being able to afford their privately rented home – despite working.

Mr Africk says: “At first, we were fortunate because we went to live with my aunt. But not long after we moved in, she died of a heart attack and the council took the house back.

“We were made homeless instantly. I sobbed that night, all of us were in tears.

“Our current hostel is so cramped and everyone’s competing for space, my family all sleep in one room and we eat our meals on the floor because we don’t have a table, there are two bathrooms, but one isn’t in good shape, it’s hard to bathe, it’s just very tough.”

Photo Credit: ‘Telli Africk and family’ by Steve Franck, Shelter

The housing and communities secretary, James Brokenshire, told the Guardian the government was determined to end homelessness but accepted more could be done. “No one should be left without a roof over their head, which is why we are determined to end rough sleeping and respond to the causes of homelessness.”

He added: “Our rough-sleeping strategy, support for councils and those working on the frontline are helping to get people off the street and into accommodation as we enter the colder winter months. But we know that there is more that we need to do and we’re committed to working with Shelter and others to make a positive difference.”

To support Shelter’s urgent appeal please visit www.shelter.org.uk