Info from Shelter:

New research from Shelter shows at least 271,000 people are recorded as homeless in England, including 123,000 children.

Shelter’s detailed analysis of official homelessness figures and responses to a Freedom of Information request shows that one in 208 people in England are without a home. Of these, 2,400 people are sleeping rough on any given night, 15,000 people are in hostels or supported accommodation and nearly 250,000 are living in temporary accommodation – most of whom are families.

In the South West as a whole, 9,700 people are counted as homeless and living in council-arranged temporary accommodation under homelessness legislation

402 are in temporary accommodation organised by themselves or ‘homeless at home’ (legally homeless as it is not reasonable for them to occupy their home but who have not yet been rehoused by the local authority)

330 people are sleeping on the streets on a given night

4350 children are homeless and sleeping in temporary accommodation

The estimated number of homeless people is 10,432


In Cornwall, the figures are:

1,667 homeless people, 744 of which are children. This includes those living in temporary accommodation, those in hostels or supported accommodation, and those sleeping rough.

Of these, there were:

1,600 people who were living in temporary accommodation arranged by the council

49 living in temporary accommodation arranged by themselves or homeless at home

28 people sleeping on the streets.

Generally, the number of people living in temporary accommodation has risen by an alarming 74% in the last 10 years – something the charity argues is driven by the chronic shortage of social homes, and an over-reliance on grossly expensive and unstable private renting.

More than two-thirds of families (68%) living in temporary accommodation have been there for over a year, showing this type of accommodation is becoming less and less “temporary” as families cannot escape homelessness due to the severe lack of affordable homes. This is a situation made even worse by the three-year freeze on housing benefit, and cost of living crisis.

Shelter has also undertaken the largest ever survey of homeless households living in temporary accommodation. The ground-breaking research found that living in temporary accommodation has a hugely detrimental impact on people’s health. It revealed:

  • Almost two-thirds of people (63%) say that living in temporary accommodation has had a negative impact on their mental health.
  • Half (51%) say that it has had a negative impact on their physical health.
  • Two in five people (39%) say that living in temporary accommodation has made it harder to access healthcare appointments.

Shelter is issuing an urgent appeal for public support as it braces for a sharp rise in homelessness in 2023. An average of 1,000 calls per day are made to the charity’s emergency helpline, of which almost eight in ten (78%) callers are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless – a figure which has increased by 8% since last year.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “The new year should be a time of hope, but this isn’t the case for the 271,000 homeless people who are facing a truly bleak 2023. A cold doorway or a grotty hostel room is not a home, but this is reality for too many people today.

“Our frontline advisers are working tirelessly to help people who are desperate to escape homelessness – from the parents doing all they can to provide some shred of a normal family life while stuck in an emergency B&B, to the person terrified of another night sleeping rough.

“With private rents and living costs continuing to soar, thousands of people are not just facing a winter of worry, they are at risk of losing the roof over their head. At Shelter, we are bracing ourselves for a sharp rise in homelessness in 2023. More than ever, we will be relying on the public’s generosity to help us support and campaign for all those fighting for a safe home.”

While Shelter’s analysis is the most comprehensive overview of recorded homelessness in the country, the true figure is likely to be much higher as some types of homelessness go entirely undocumented, such as sofa surfing.

To donate to Shelter’s Winter Appeal and help to give people fighting homelessness the urgent support, security and hope they need in the tough months ahead, visit