New statistics have revealed there are 320,000 people recorded as homeless in Britain, despite official government figures claiming as many as 33 councils have zero rough sleepers.
The shocking analysis from housing charity Shelter suggest one in 200 people in Britain are now homeless – and the numbers keep on rising.
The figures are four per cent, or 13,000 people, up on last year’s figures and equate to 36 new people becoming homeless every day.
London has the highest rate of homelessness, but it is growing fastest in the Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, and north-west England, the analysis says.
Shelter analysts arrived at the total of 320,000 after collating official figures for those living in temporary accommodation, sleeping rough and the number of hostel places taken up, reducing them to compensate for potential double-counting.
The charity says its figures are likely to be a conservative estimate, as they do not include people unknown to the authorities or experiencing other types of homelessness not included in the figures.
They add that rough sleeping figures are particularly difficult to record because many people hide and remain out of sight for safety reasons and are not seen by the council officials who carry out the counts.
So, those who bed down for the night in derelict buildings rather than the more obvious shop doorways are often missed out of the tally.
Chief executive of the charity Polly Neate said: “These new figures show that homelessness is having a devastating impact on the lives of people right across the country.
“Due to the perfect storm of spiralling rents, welfare cuts and a total lack of social housing, record numbers of people are sleeping out on the streets or stuck in the cramped confines of a hostel room.
“We desperately need action now to change tomorrow for the hundreds of thousands whose lives will be blighted by homelessness this winter.”