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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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April 15 2011
Herefordshire council admits error in homeless figures


Herefordshire Council has admitted it greatly ‘overestimated’ the number of rough sleepers in the county. A recent article published in the Herefordshire Times stated that 42 homeless people were sleeping rough in the area, more than many major cities including Liverpool, Birmingham and Newcastle.

However, John Burnett, spokesperson for Herefordshire Council, told The Pavement that the figures were an anomaly. "Having had a closer look at the results and the methodology applied to obtain the figures, it would appear we reported anyone we’d had contact with who may have been in contact with the winter shelter," he said. Burnett explained that it is difficult to obtain precise figures due to the fact that homeless people are often on the move. "Taking this all into account and having reviewed more detailed data we have now obtained, we estimate that, realistically, there could be eight or nine rough sleepers in the county," he said.

The council has announced these numbers are still "too high" and it will be addressing the issue as soon as possible. According to Burnett, an individual action plan will be put in place for all of those sleeping rough and the needs of each will be thoroughly assessed. "We are also working closely with private landlords and those who have been sleeping rough to ensure that people accommodated in the private rented sector receive support to enable their accommodation to remain viable," he explained. In addition, the council plans to develop a rough sleepers’ strategy to address the problem and ensure the root cause of the problem is being tackled. This will also include a more refined methodology for counting rough sleepers, which, in turn, will lead to more consistent reporting on the issue.

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