Almost 24,000 people in West Midlands are homeless, according to national charity
The number of people recorded as homeless in the West Midlands has reached 23,715, new figures from Shelter reveal.
Shelter’s extensive analysis of official rough-sleeping and temporary accommodation figures shows the number of homeless people in the region has increased by 64% since 2016 when the charity first published its landmark annual report.
For the first time, the charity’s review of government data has also exposed more than 17,000 people in the West Midlands were threatened with homelessness in the last year.
Despite being the most comprehensive overview of homelessness in the country, it’s widely known that a lot of homelessness goes undocumented, including sofa surfing and some rough sleeping.
This means the true level of homelessness will be even higher than today’s count. Shelter is warning that unless the new government takes urgent action to address the dire lack of social homes at the crux of this emergency, the situation is likely to get worse.
Alongside its bid to get more social housing built, the charity is calling on the public to support its frontline workers as they grapple with huge demand this Christmas. In the last year, a call was made to Shelter’s emergency helpline every 44 seconds and its free webchat service was used almost 26,000 times.
Vicky Hines, Shelter Birmingham hub manager, said: “Homelessness blights lives and leaves a lasting imprint of trauma, and yet close to 24,000 people in the West Midlands are without a home this Christmas. And many are only days away from joining them.
“As well as those facing serious ill-health or even death sleeping rough on our streets this winter, there are too many families trapped in grotty emergency B&Bs, with no space for children to sit and eat, let alone play. This is the grim truth our new government must confront and do something radical to change.
“Until the government acts to stem this crisis, the work of our frontline advisers remains critical. With the public’s support we will do everything we can to help people find a safe and stable place to live – no matter how long it takes.”
The charity’s report, ‘This is England: a picture of homelessness in 2019’, identifies the areas where homelessness is most acute in the West Midlands. Birmingham topped the list with 1 in 66 people now homeless, followed by Rugby (1 in 215) and Coventry (1 in 239).
To donate to Shelter’s urgent Christmas appeal please visit www.shelter.org.uk.