For the first time Shelter has released figures to show the true scale of homelessness in England – and Bristol was named the worst in the South West.
According to the report, there are 255,000 sleeping rough or are in temporary accommodation in England, and 2,282 are homeless in Bristol.
This represents one in every 199 people in the city.
Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: “Thousands of people in the South West 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.”
According to Bristol based homeless charity and night shelter, The Julian Trust, the city sees 100 new rough sleepers every quarter.
Treasurer Richard Drake said: “Early intervention programmes are vital in stopping people becoming homeless”.
“Many rough sleepers have complex needs that go beyond their immediate needs for shelter and these need addressing at the same time by dedicated support work if their high risk lifestyle is to change.
Such services, though grossly underfunded, do exist – but there is a challenge to encourage many rough sleepers to accept that help.”
The trust also encourages people to seek help early enough so the possibility of being homeless can be avoided. The Reduction of Homelessness Bill is currently going through Parliament and goes some way to addressing this.
Every February the Trust runs a Homelessness Awareness Week to try and tackle the issues that cause homelessness by directing the compassion people feel for rough sleepers to actions that will help the prevent it.