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FIVEFOLD increase in rough sleepers on Merseyside; rise since tories voted in.

Byline: CLAIRE MILLER and EMILIA BONA ECHO Reporters emilia.bona@trinitymirror.com @EMILIABONAECHO

THE number of rough sleepers on Merseyside has increased nearly FIVEFOLD since the Tories came into power in 2010.

People sleeping rough on the streets of Merseyside has reached the worst level since records began, with local authorities putting the figure at 65 rough sleepers in autumn last year.

That is a 63% increase in rough sleepers in a year - rising from 40 in 2016. The number of people sleeping rough has spiked from the 14 recorded in 2010 - representing a 4.6 times increase.

Liverpool had the highest number of rough sleepers in the area at 33, up 57% from 21 in 2016 and 11 times higher than the three recorded in 2010.

Wirral came second, with 14 rough sleepers recorded last autumn - a 27% rise in a year from 11, back in 2016, and 3.5 times higher than the four recorded in 2010.

MP for Wirral South, Alison McGovern, said: "Every person sleeping rough on our streets is a person in need of help and care, and, over the past seven years, the Tories have pulled apart the system that provides such care.

"The safety net that is there for us all is now full of holes. It is no wonder more people are on the streets."

Across England, 4,751 people were sleeping rough last autumn, up 15% from 4,134 in 2016. The number is up an astounding 169% from 1,768 in 2010.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, said: "It is truly a catastrophe that, in a country as prosperous as this, more and more people are finding themselves forced to sleep in freezing conditions, when we have evidence to show how the situation could be turned around."

Every person rough on a person in help and Alison McGovern, South MP " Fundraising manager at the Whitechapel Centre, Ruth McCaugley, said: "The rough sleeper count in Liverpool took place in early November, 2017, and is a snapshot of one night, which gives an indication of the upward trend.

"Over the last five years, we have seen an increasing number of people who are at risk of rough sleeping and we are working hard to provide support to prevent anyone having to sleep rough. "Since the count, the new overnight provision at Labre House has opened in partnership with Liverpool City Council - it is available to all rough sleepers, every night.

"We are now seeing over 50 people each night using this facility and we have been successful in continued support into permanent accommodation. "Our outreach team are out on the street every day and are reporting a significant drop in the number of people who are remain rough sleeping.

"We are supporting these individuals to come indoors and to access the overnight shelter."

Councils are encouraged to gather data from street counts and estimates from local agencies such as outreach workers, the police,the voluntary sector and members of the public who have contact with rough sleepers.

However, there are a number of practical difficulties in counting the number of rough sleepers within each local authority on Merseyside.

It isn't possible to cover the entire area of a local authority in a single evening, so counts will be targeted to areas according to local knowledge.

Also, rough sleepers may bed down at different times, meaning some may be missed.

Ms McCaughley said each borough in Merseyside carry out their count on the same night to prevent doublecounting or movement throughout different areas.

The Whitechapel Centre has asked the public to help by calling them on 0300 123 2041 if they see someone sleeping rough. | Homeless volunteers helping to clean up the city: Page 26.

sleeping our streets is need of care Wirral

Every person sleeping rough on our streets is a person in need of help and care Alison McGovern, Wirral South MP

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The number of people sleeping rough in Merseyside has reached the worst level since records began
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 26, 2018
Words:676
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