Shocking new figures have revealed Northamptonshire has the highest homelessness rate in the East Midlands by a sizeable margin.
Analysis from Shelter has laid bare the true scale of the county’s worsening housing crisis, despite repeated Government pledges to tackle the problem and various schemes launched by our district and borough councils.
In the last year, the overall number of homeless people in the East Midlands was found to be 7,285 people, according to the charity, a rise of 440 over last year's figures.
Yet Shelter's study reveals almost a quarter of those are from just three of our towns - Wellingborough, Kettering and Northampton.
The three towns take the top three spots for homelessness rates in the region, with Wellingborough occupying first place.
One in 200 people living in the East Northamptonshire town are either sleeping on the streets or stuck in temporary accommodation, including hostels and B&Bs.
In Kettering, that figure is one in 251 people and in Northampton it is one in 278.
Shelter has now launched an urgent appeal calling on the public to support its frontline advisers who work to help the growing number of people trying to find or keep their home.
CEO of Shelter, Polly Neate, said: “It’s unforgivable that thousands of people in the East Midlands have been swept up by the housing crisis and now have no place to call home. These new figures show that homelessness is having a devastating impact on the lives of people right across the region.
“Due to the perfect storm of spiralling rents, welfare cuts and a total lack of social housing, record numbers of people are sleeping out on the streets or stuck in the cramped confines of a hostel room. We desperately need action now to change tomorrow for the hundreds of thousands whose lives will be blighted by homelessness this winter.
“Shelter’s services have never been more needed. That’s why we’re asking the public to support us this winter so that we can answer as many calls as possible and have trained advisers on hand when people need them most.”
In its annual landmark review, the housing charity combined official rough-sleeping, temporary accommodation and social services figures. As these records are not definitive, the true extent of homelessness is likely even greater, Shelter says.
Overall, almost 320,000 people in Britain are now homeless - an increase of 13,000 people since last year.
Shelter’s report ‘Homelessness in Great Britain: the numbers behind the story’ warns this is due to a combination unaffordable rents, frozen housing benefits and a severe shortage of social housing.