Government figures published today showing five people rough sleeping on a single night in Bolton are a stark reminder about hidden homelessness.

The rough sleeping snapshot, published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recorded an increase in the number of people sleeping rough in Bolton, up from two people the previous year.

Manchester recorded the highest number of people sleeping rough with a count of 48 people out of the ten council areas in Greater Manchester, followed by Stockport, where there was an estimate of 25 people, and Bolton reported the third lowest number.

In total the snapshot recorded 3898 people rough sleeping in England, up 27% from the previous year.

For the purposes of the snapshot, rough sleeping is defined as people sleeping or about to bed down in the open, such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments. Figures include people in buildings or other places not designed for living in, like stairwells, barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations, or makeshift shelters.

Director of Emmaus Bolton, Tony Stephenson, said: “Any one person forced into rough sleeping is tragic. While we recognise the importance of logging people who are street homeless, we must note that these figures are only an estimate of the number of people sleeping rough in Bolton on a single night.

“These numbers do not show ‘hidden homelessness’: people living in hostels or shelters, sofa surfers, people in campsites or other places. Most of all, they do not tell the stories behind why people have been forced into homelessness in the first place. When we think about all forms of homelessness, we know the number is much higher.”

Other figures published by the Government, comparing April 2022 to March 2023 to the same period the previous year show Bolton Council experienced the highest increase in the number of households seeking help for homelessness out of all ten local authority areas in Greater Manchester.

Tony said: “Councils are facing increasing pressure on services amid a climate of mounting cutbacks. This can mean charities, like Emmaus Bolton, stepping in to help people who are homeless, with accommodation or meals from our food bank, Lucie’s Pantry. The government must do more, which is why Emmaus UK has joined 36 other leading homelessness charities in an open letter to call on the Chancellor to urgently address the dire financial situation facing homelessness services.”


To get help from Emmaus Bolton, you can find out more about joining our community here. If you are concerned about someone who is rough sleeping, please contact StreetLink to get in touch with the nearest outreach team.