City a hotspot for homeless, figures show

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SHEFFIELD is a homelessness hotspot with hundreds of people in the city affected last year, according to new government figures.

Between October and December 2011, there were 347 families in Sheffield on the city’s homeless register for people who have been left without a permanent home and sought help from the city council.

The figure, which does not include people living on the streets, is a 43 per cent rise on the previous year and the second highest for a city in England.

Only Birmingham has more with 925 households affected, statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government show.

Tim Renshaw, chief executive of The Cathedral Archer Project day centre in Sheffield, said the figures were ‘worrying’ with repossession and private eviction rates also rising.

He added: “It’s very worrying because it’s indicative that many people are either losing income or accommodation.

“That puts stress on people and families, then you have family breakdown and who knows where it might go – one member of that family might end up on the street.”

Nationwide, the number of households classed as homeless increased by 14 per cent last year. In Rotherham, there were 35 households affected, a rise of 46 per cent.

But in Barnsley and Doncaster the figures fell, from eight to six households and 17 to 12 respectively. An extra £70 million is now available to help households facing homelessness, said housing minister Grant Shapps.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of charity Shelter, said: “These figures are a shocking reminder of the divide between the housing haves and have-nots in Sheffield. Amid growing economic gloom and rising unemployment, increasing numbers of ordinary families are falling victim to our housing crisis.”

■ Call Shelter Sheffield Advice Service on 0344 515 1515.