SPIRALLING numbers of people sleeping on the streets of Warwick district has seen it labelled a homeless hotspot.
Since 2010 rough sleeper numbers in the district have almost doubled, rising from 12 to 21, and the figures have been backed up by the government, which says the district is the worst in the West Midlands for homelessness.
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western says the ‘shocking’ figures show more council housing and support was needed.
He said: “I am extremely concerned to see Warwick district has the highest rate of rough sleepers in the West Midlands, considerably higher than Birmingham or Rugby.
“This is scandalous in one of the richest countries in the world.
“Rough sleeping has increased markedly in the local area. We need more social, council and affordable housing and we need them now. We also need more funding for support services for people with mental health issues and or with drug addiction.
“I raised the issue of homelessness with government last week and raised the point made by two of our local charities, Leamington Winter Support night shelter and Helping Hands, that we are in desperate need of affordable housing and called for more funding for local authorities.”
District-based charity P3, which works to help the homeless, has now employed a ‘street outreach worker’ in the area, specifically Leamington, which has the district’s highest number of rough sleepers.
Service manager Henry Webster said: “We know that there is often a complex back story with people sleeping rough and our job is to help understand this so we give them the best possible chance to find safe and secure accommodation.
“Leamington seems to be a hotspot for homelessness – we’ve seen a really steep increase in people sleeping on the streets of Leamington during our early morning outreach sessions, which why we’re employing a new worker to help with the rising need.”
Along with working with rough sleepers, P3 also provides advice for those struggling with housing issues.
Drop-in sessions are held every Thursday, from 1pm to 4pm, at Warwick District Council’s Riverside House headquarters on Milverton Hill.
Visit www.p3charity.org to find out more.