Number of rough sleepers in Nottingham reaches 18-year high

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Homelessness is on the rise in Notts. (Benjamin Brock, cc-by-sa-3.0)

A charity says the amount of people sleeping in the street in Nottingham has risen to its highest figure since 1998.

Framework, a charity and housing association that helps homeless people, found 33 people sleeping rough during its latest count in July.

This is an 83 per cent increase when compared to the same month last year.

The charity’s Street Outreach Team, which works directly with rough sleepers, believes the rise is because of welfare reforms, reduced national investment in housing and support and a lack of assistance for non-UK nationals.

Many of those sleeping rough receive no benefits at all

Framework chief executive Andrew Redfern said: “We are struggling to respond to the range of needs presented by an increased number of rough sleepers.

“These include non-UK nationals, who comprise more than a third of the individuals the team has supported over the past three months.

“Contrary to what some believe, these people are not entitled to the same level of state support as UK citizens and many of those now sleeping rough receive no benefits at all.”

Councils like Nottingham City have seen their resources diminish

Mr Redfern said that these figures were forecast.

He said: “These new figures are very worrying indeed, but, sadly they don’t come as a surprise.

“We have been warning for several years that cuts to services and restrictions on benefits for the most vulnerable would lead to an increase in homelessness and rough sleeping.

“Councils like Nottingham City have seen their resources diminish and been forced to take tough decisions.”

Sometimes, there are no options

Framework’s Street Outreach manager Jason Marriott believes that the cuts have also impacted on how the charity can help.

He said: “The lack of income greatly limits our options to help non-UK nationals, because there is simply no money available to provide them with the accommodation they need.

“The best option may be to reconnect them to their own country or local area – ensuring as we do so that they have appropriate support in place when they return home.

“But supported reconnection also incurs a cost in the UK that has to be met by someone.

“The lack of capacity here and elsewhere limits our options; sometimes, and much more frequently than in the past, there are none and this is why the numbers are rising so fast.”