County news: Homelessness crisis in the South East

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Shocking figures just released show that, outside of London, Brighton and Hove has the largest levels of homelessness in the UK.

There are more than 4,000 homeless people in the city, according to shock figures by homeless charity Shelter, meaning one in 69 people in the city are ‘without a home’.

The research by Shelter also looked at the extent of the housing crisis in the South East, where it said 22,100 people are homeless.

The figure for Brighton and Hove was 4,095.

The figures were obtained from a combination of government statistics, freedom of information requests, and other published homelessness data.

To mark Shelter’s founding 50 years ago today, the research was inspired by the charity’s original ‘Green Book’ – the report that launched the charity in 1966 and exposed the grim reality of life for homeless families at the time.

Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: “Shelter’s founding shone a light on hidden homelessness in the sixties slums. But while those troubled times have faded into memory, 50 years on a modern day housing crisis is tightening its grip on our country.

“Tens of thousands of people in the South East will face the trauma of waking up homeless this Christmas. Decades in the making, this is the tragic result of a nation struggling under the weight of sky-high rents, a lack of affordable homes, and cuts to welfare support.

“We all face the consequences when so many grow up without a place to call home. It breaks up communities and wreaks havoc on family life. For the sake of future generations we must pull together to end this crisis, and refuse to rest until every child has a place to call home.”

Shelter’s co-founder Des Wilson said: “It would be pleasing if Shelter were able to take time to celebrate its 50th year, but, as this report shows, it is too aware of what still has to be done.

“I hope the country will respond to its urgent rallying call with the same combination of anger and compassion with which it supported our work all those years ago.”

To support Shelter’s urgent Christmas appeal and help homeless families, visit www.shelter.org.uk or text SHELTER to 70555 to donate £3.