Don't miss a story sign up to Weston Mercury's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

North Somerset rough sleeping figures ‘misleading’

PUBLISHED: 09:00 04 March 2011

The figures have been described as misleading

The figures have been described as misleading

Archant

GOVERNMENT figures estimating that North Somerset has two homeless people in the entire district have been described as ‘misleading’by local experts.

The new statistics, released this week by the Department for Communities and Local Government, are designed to paint a picture of homelessness across the UK.

North Somerset data shows just two people are estimated to be rough sleepers - leading homeless charities and campaigners to question whether the count was thorough enough.

Jon Codd, organiser of the annual Comfort at Christmas shelter which welcomes many homeless people, thinks the estimates may prove to be deceptive.

He said: “The fact that the report says there are two people sleeping rough in the whole of North Somerset would seem to be a little misleading.

“What’s astonishing is that these figures are mainly estimates. Of the 1,768 (UK homeless people) stated in the report, only 407 were counted.”

Mr Codd believes that not only are the figures misleading, they also mask the larger issue of homeless people, who are being ‘shunted from pillar to post’.

He continued: “There are a lot of people sofa surfing, moving from one mate’s flat or bedsit to another; B&B accommodation; non-close family - all of these are not homes.

“If the figures for these people were counted the whole country would be astounded.”

The figures were released after changes were made in the way numbers of rough sleepers were counted, with local authorities now responsible for carrying out an estimate.

Duncan Shrubsole, a spokesman for homeless charity Crisis, says councils need to be more thorough.

He said: “While these figures are encouraging in the context of last year’s ones before the method was changed, they are only ever an estimate or snapshot from the authorities.

“We would urge authorities to be more active and look at the wide range of places where homeless people might be.

“While it is good to see the figures picking up more of the people living what can be an awful existence out on the streets, authorities should look harder as this method simply cannot find all of the people who might be sleeping rough.”

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said: “We conducted a multi-agency street count in May 2008 and found no rough sleepers at all. Our officers were walking the streets at 2am looking in bins and sheds but didn’t find anyone at all. Not even in the park.

“Historically we don’t have high numbers of rough sleepers, summertime sees a slight increase but this is mainly people passing through the district. We occasionally hear of people sleeping in the woods as well but these are generally known to us and refuse assistance.”

Other News Stories

36 minutes ago

Police are searching for a man who failed to turn up at court to face allegations of assault and criminal damage.

Read more
6 minutes ago

Nearly 200 students from a Worle secondary school have taken a first step into writing careers by having stories published in an anthology.

Read more
10:00

Weston-super-Mare police have recovered a large haul of stolen power tools and are encouraging victims to visit the police station.

Read more
14:00

Revellers gathered at a village pub with pots and pans to bless the orchard during the historic Somerset tradition of wassailing.

Read more

An exhibit of ‘national significance’ will be displayed at Weston Museum later this year.

Read more

Emergency services were called to Burnham-on-Sea following an incident which saw somebody trapped in a crashed car after failing to stop when ordered by police.

Read more
07:37

Stormy weather and heavy rain is set to batter the Weston-super-Mare coastline overnight (Wednesday).

Read more

Almost all of Weston General Hospital’s beds have been full throughout December and the beginning of January, missing NHS targets.

Read more
11:00

A Weston-super-Mare woman drove away happy after winning a car worth thousands of pounds.

Read more
09:00

Weston-super-Mare’s new creative hub will host a free technology event next week, offering expert digital advice to the town’s fledgling businesses.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 6°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

Somerset's trusted business finder