Rough sleeping levels in North Somerset quadruple – what more can be done?
PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 February 2017
The amount of people sleeping rough on the streets of North Somerset has quadrupled during the past seven years, amid claims savage Government cuts are leaving people with fewer options than ever.
Statistics released by the Government’s department for communities and local government reveal the amount of official rough sleepers recorded by North Somerset Council in the autumn has risen from two to eight people since 2010.
Although this may not seem like a particularly high figure, the announcement comes just weeks after the council announced it would be cracking down on so-called ‘professional beggars’ – those who sleep rough despite having accommodation in order to make money – by removing their personal items from the streets.
This figure represents those who genuinely have nowhere to go, and one of Weston’s homeless charities said the amount of genuine rough sleepers in the area is rising as a result of increased financial strain.
Somewhere To Go is based in Boulevard and gives homeless people a shower, a hot meal and advice.
Its general manager Joan Eales said: “Benefits have been severely affected by the austerity measures of the past few years, leaving vulnerable people with even fewer options than they used to have. At the same time, rents are increasing.
“For many of our clients, affordable accommodation is simply out of their reach.”
Anyone who is concerned about a rough sleeper in Weston can contact Somewhere To Go on 01934 641880.