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Carey Tompsett/PA Wire
UK News

Christians call surge in homelessness 'scandalous'

by Tola Mbakwe

Around 9,100 people were sleeping rough in 2016, with the number forecast to rise to 16,000 in 2026, a new report from Crisis has suggested.

The analysis carried out for Crisis by Heriot-Watt University found that in 2016, 159,900 households estimated almost a quarter of a million people were experiencing a form of homelessness.

It warned that without action the most acute forms of homelessness were likely to keep climbing, with overall numbers forecast to rise by more than a quarter over the next 10 years to 202,200 in 2026.

The scale of homelessness had "increased significantly" (33 per cent) across Britain in the last five years, up from 119,900 in 2011.

David Primrose, Director of Transforming Communities in the Diocese of Litchfield described the situation as "scandalous".

He told Premier that if government policy doesn't change, then individuals will suffer.

He said: "It's scandalous that in a country as wealthy as we are that some people are in that situation.

"Each person represents a life that is struggling without the support that people in our society deserve.

"What goes beyond that is that we lose the confidence that we are a caring and compassionate society where each and every person matters."

The report, entitled Homelessness Projections: Core Homelessness In Great Britain, stated: "If current policies continue unchanged, the most acute forms of homelessness are likely to keep rising, with overall numbers estimated to rise by more than a quarter in the coming decade and two and a half times by 2041."

It revealed that last year 68,300 households were sofa surfing, 19,300 households were living in unsuitable temporary accommodation and 37,200 households were living in hostels.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council, said there was a "mountain to climb" but insisted the situation "need not be endemic".

He said: "The findings of this report, tragically, come as no surprise.

"The evidence that the problem of homelessness is increasing is clear on our streets and in our communities. And it should shame and concern us all.

"In its early days one of the boldest decisions of the Scottish Parliament was to legislate to end homeless.

"Today's figures not only suggest we are falling short of that goal, but that there is a mountain to climb."

"And we all need to play our part to end the scandal of homelessness."

Frazer said society could not, in good conscience, continue to produce and implement economic policies that lead to such chronic suffering.

"These figures should both challenge and spur us on; homelessness need not be endemic," he added.

Listen to David Primrose speaking with Premier's Glen Thompsett here: 

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