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Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
UK News

New homelessness figures spark Church night shelter plea

The plea comes from the Christian charity Housing Justice which is branding the statistics "low estimates", adding the true figure could be significantly higher.

Chief Executive, Alison Gelder told Premier: "In Isaiah 58, God calls us to show our love for God by bringing the homeless poor into our homes and, surely, our churches are part of that.

"As well as the people in night shelters not being counted, all the people who are 'hidden homeless' - people sleeping on someone's floor, in cars, bin sheds... - no of them are counted in this either, so there could be tens of thousands more."

Housing Justice is also defending the finding by homelessness charity Shelter that 255,000 have no permanent home, after the government said "we do not recognise these figures".

Cheif Executive of Shelter, Campbell Robb, said: "Shelter's founding shone a light on hidden homelessness in the sixties slums.

"But, while those troubled times have faded into memory, 50 years on, a modern-day housing crisis is tightening its grip on our country."

Included in the homelessness figure are people living in temporary accommodation, such as hostels, and those who are sleeping rough.

Explaining what Christmas is like for the homeless, Alison Gelder, said: "For people who don't have anywhere to go, who are imaging themselves out in the cold, who have no family who they can turn to for support, it really is the most miserable time of the year."

The Department for Communities and Local Government said the government is investing more than £500 million during the course of this parliament, adding "the actual level of homelessness is less than half the 2003 peak."

Click here to listen to Alison Gelder speaking with Premier's Alex Williams:

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