Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Rising numbers of rough sleepers

December 09 2011
Outrreach workers say there are not enough shelters, according to a new report


Outreach workers across Britain are seeing a rise in the number of rough sleepers, according to a new report by homeless charity St Mungo’s. Three out of five outreach workers surveyed by the charity reported increased numbers of rough sleepers in their area, while over 70 per cent said they did not believe that there was enough emergency accommodation for homeless people.

The report, Battered, Broken, Bereft - Why People Still End up Rough Sleeping, is the first ever survey of outreach workers across England. St Mungo’s also spoke to 1,500 of its clients, to try and identify the causes of homelessness. The biggest contributing factor was found to be relationship breakdown, with nearly half of the men surveyed saying it triggered their homelessness. Domestic violence was the main cause for women finding themselves on the streets, with over a third of women saying they had become homeless after escaping an abusive relationship.

St Mungo’s Chief Executive, Charles Fraser, blamed government cuts for both the rise in rough sleepers and the decline in services to help the homeless. “As services close, or thresholds for accessing support are raised, some vulnerable people are being left with nowhere to turn with devastating effect,’ he said. ‘These cuts are proving too costly, both in human terms and in the very real costs of supporting people’s recovery from the trauma of rough sleeping.”

Jeremy Paxman, BBC’s Newsnight presenter, wrote in the report’s foreword that: “All these problems are aggravated by the current economic crisis. But what shines through from these accounts is the resilience and sheer determination of people to survive. It takes courage of an order that most of us will never have to display.”