Bristol has the highest level of homelessness in the South West, according to figures from housing charity Shelter.
There’s an estimated total of 11,260 people in the entire region who have nowhere to live, with the true figure expected to be much higher.
Currently, 2600 people are living in temporary accommodation in the city, with around 74 rough sleepers. With the number of people currently living in Bristol, that means that 1 person in every 174 has nowhere to live. Shelter’s statistics only take into consideration the number of people in temporary accommodation or street sleeping, meaning the ultimate number of people homeless in the city is far higher.
When people hear homeless, they immediately think of those huddled in shop doorways. But homelessness is a much more complex problem. Households that are homeless and are owed a legal duty by the council to be rehoused are included in the figures. This includes adults and children who could be waiting for bailiffs to arrive, or are forced to bed down on the living room floor at a friends after losing their home. Homeless households could also be in hostels or temporary accommodation as they desperately bid for properties on Homechoice.
Not all households who are homeless will be considered by local authorities if they fail to fulfil certain criteria, such as living in the city for a certain number of years. These people may fall into ‘hidden’ homelessness category and not included in the overall statistics.
CEO of Shelter, Polly Neate said: “It’s shocking to think that today, thousands of people in the South West are waking up homeless. Some will have spent the night shivering on a cold pavement, others crammed into a dingy, hostel room with their children. And what is worse, many are simply unaccounted for.
“On a daily basis, we speak to people and families who are desperately trying to escape the devastating trap of homelessness. A trap that is tightening thanks to decades of failure to build enough affordable homes and the impact of welfare cuts.
“As this crisis continues to unfold, the work of our frontline advisers remains absolutely critical. We will do all we can to make sure no-one is left to fight homelessness on their own. But we cannot achieve this alone; we urgently need the public’s support to be there for everyone who needs us right now.”