Brighton and Hove has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country, the charity Shelter said today (Thursday 9 December).
Outside London, only Luton had a higher rate, with Shelter saying that an estimated 3,700 people were living in temporary or emergency housing arranged by Brighton and Hove City Council.
Nationally, the homeless figure is about 274,000 – and the rate of homelessness in Brighton and Hove was 1 in 78, the charity said, while in London it was 1 in 53.
Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said that the figures were “shameful” and warned that “with covid protections now gone, thousands more will be joining them”.
She said that frontline workers had been inundated with calls to its emergency helpline from people facing homelessness this winter, while others faced uncertainty amid fears of a “rising tide” of evictions.
The recorded numbers were likely to be an underestimate, the charity warned, because some types of homelessness such as sofa surfing went undocumented.
Ms Neate said: “We predicted the pandemic would trigger a rising tide of evictions – and our services are starting to see the reality of this now.
“We’re flooded with calls from families and people of all ages who are homeless or on the verge of losing their home.
“It is shameful that 274,000 people are without a home and, with covid protections now gone, thousands more will be joining them.
“A shoddy hostel room or a freezing cold doorway is no place to wake up on Christmas morning but sadly so many people will.
“This winter the work of our frontline staff is as critical as ever. Our emergency helpline advisers work 365 days a year, doing everything they can to help people find a safe and secure home.
“By giving a little the public can help us do a lot – with their support we can keep providing support and advice to thousands of families facing homelessness this year.”
The government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “Tackling homelessness is an absolute priority for this government which is why we have committed more than £2 billion in funding over the next three years.
“On top of that we’re providing £375 million this year to prevent homelessness and have given councils in England £65 million to support people in rent arrears.”
For more information or to donate to Shelter’s Winter Appeal, visit shelter.org.uk/donate.