Homelessness in Britain outnumbers the population of Newcastle

New figures from leading housing charity Shelter point claim more than 300,000 people across the country are without a home

More than 300,000 people in Britain are now homeless – the equivalent to one in every 200, and more than the population of Newcastle-upon-Tyne – according to the latest figures gathered by housing charity Shelter.

The report, which combines official rough-sleeping, temporary accommodation and social services figures, shows that the number of homeless people in Britain has increased by 13,000 in the last year. The true extent is likely much higher, the charity notes, as figures are not definitive.

The charity mapped the top 50 hotspots with the highest levels of homelessness. Newham, home to the London 2012 Olympic Games, tops the list with 1 in every 25 people homeless. This is closely followed by Haringey (1 in 29) and Westminster (1 in 31). The crisis reaches out further than the capital, with Birmingham (1 in 88) and Manchester (1 in 154) featuring in the top 50.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It’s shocking to think that today, more than 300,000 people in Britain 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 hundreds of 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.”

Shelter have launched an urgent appeal in response to the crisis, calling on the public to support their frontline staff.

“As this crisis continues to unfold, the work of our frontline services 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.”