North Somerset rough sleeping figures ‘misleading’

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.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

35 minutes ago
Towens staff and owners with some of their new vehicles outside the new workshop.

A WASTE management company in Weston has continued its expansion by offering new services.

Read more
12:00
Larry and Mary McGurk with their cake tower and a photo of their wedding day.

Compromises and close family are the key to a long and happy marriage, according to one Worle couple who celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary last week.

Read more

A VAN is believed to have been set on fire deliberately in the early hours of this morning (Sunday).

Read more
The new development

A HOUSING estate featuring more than 1,150 homes will be built on the border of Weston and Banwell.

Read more
The Weston Hospicecare building at Uphill.

A TALENTED artist is putting on a charity exhibition of her work to mark her 90th birthday.

Read more
Yesterday, 19:00
For All Healthy Living Centre Bournville youngsters enjoying  Easter crafts.

FAMILIES took part in a number of craft activities for the Easter holiday.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:30
The Civic Society paid to replace the trees in the Boulevard.

THE new treasurer of Weston Civic Society says he is in ‘full control’ of group finances following a cash wrangle.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00
My friends Si and Jem that run Coles Kitchen have organised this weekend's zombie run. They asked me to direct and photograph the promotional shots for the event, so I took the Zombies to the college and Grove Park. Here are a few that I took.

IT IS the end of the world as we know it – or could just be the latest interactive game to hit Weston.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:17

BRISTOL Airport took part in a major aviation fair as it seeks to raise its international profile.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:00
As usual, Marine Lake was a popular spot.

THE recent spell of warm weather has seen Weston benefit from a healthy boost to tourism – but some people fear visitors may be deterred from the town by parking problems.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

Most Read News

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

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



Somerset's trusted business finder