People forced to sleep rough across Britain is predicted to jump by three quarters over the next decade, a national charity for homeless people has warned.
Around 9,100 people were sleeping rough in 2016, with the number forecast to rise to 16,000 in 2026, a new report from Crisis has suggested.
The analysis by Heriot-Watt University carried out for the charity also found that 236,000 people were experiencing a form of homelessness across the UK last year.
It warned that without action the most acute forms of homelessness were likely to keep climbing.
Jon Sparkes, Crisis chief executive, said there was a need to “first understand the scale of the problem”.
The report stated that unless policies are changed then “the most acute forms of homelessness” are “likely to keep rising”.
It revealed that last year 68,300 households were sofa surfing, 19,300 households were living in unsuitable temporary accommodation and 37,200 were living in hostels.
Approximately 26,000 households were living in other circumstances in 2016, including 8,900 households sleeping in tents, cars or on public transport, 12,100 households living in squats and 5,000 households in women’s refuges or winter night shelters, the report found.
“Today’s report makes it only too clear that unless we take action as a society, the problem is only going to get worse with every year that passes”, said Mr Sparkes.
He welcomed the Government’s pledge to tackle rough sleeping, but urged “action and long term planning to end homelessness for good”.
In the wake of the findings, the charity called on the public to support its Everybody In campaign, stressing that with the right support at the right time homelessness was not inevitable.
The report argued a 60% increase in new housing could reduce levels of homelessness by 19% by 2036.
The second part of the charity’s report on wider homelessness is due in the autumn.
A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said:
“Alongside investing £550 million to 2020 to address the issue, we’re implementing the Homelessness Reduction Act, which will require councils to provide early support to people at risk of becoming homeless.
“There’s more to do and ministers will set out plans shortly.”
Judith Blake, the Local Government Association’s housing spokeswoman, raised the importance of council house building in tackling the issue.
She said: “There is no substitute for a renaissance in council house building if we’re to truly address the rising homelessness we face as a nation.
“For that to happen, Government needs to allow councils to borrow to invest in genuinely affordable housing and to keep all of their receipts from Right to Buy sales, so that money can be reinvested into delivering genuinely affordable homes.”