Places are available for long-term support from Emmaus Preston, as a government report out today shows more people sleeping rough on a single night in the city than anywhere else in Lancashire – for the second year in a row.

The snapshot published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities reported 27 people rough sleeping in Preston, more than double the 13 people recorded the previous year.

Preston’s figures were the highest out of all 14 boroughs within the Lancashire County Council area. Second was Blackpool, which recorded 21 people rough sleeping, followed by Lancaster which reported 14 people. In total the snapshot showed 103 people rough sleeping across the entire count, a dramatic increase from 60 people the year before.

Rough sleeping is defined as people sleeping, or about to bed down, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or other temporary dwellings. Figures include people sleeping in buildings or other places not designed for living in, such as stair wells, car parks, stations or makeshift shelters.

Our comment on rough sleeping

Director of Emmaus Preston, Stephen Buchanan, said: “These figures are totally unacceptable; one person rough sleeping is one too many. While we understand money has been announced today by central government to help local councils tackle homelessness, this is too little too late, and there is no mention of support for charities filling the gaps. This 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. More people in Preston to be rough sleeping year-on-year is shocking!

“People coming to Emmaus for support are often among the ‘hidden homeless’. That is, people who go unseen and might not have been counted in this snapshot: people forced to sleep in vehicles, spend the night in public toilets, stay a friends or in empty buildings. When we are looking at the numbers of these people, taking in all forms of homelessness, the true figure of homelessness in this city is much higher.”

Emmaus Preston helps people who have been street homeless as well as people experiencing other forms of homelessness: such as sofa surfing or living in temporary accommodation. The charity has been supporting people in the city since 2009, after raising the funds to buy former Lancashire County Council Birches Care Home on Ribbleton Lane in Preston. It now supports up to 26 people and has three charity shops on Fishergate and Lowthian Street in the city.

Help to move on from homelessness

Stephen added: “After a lot of hard work at Emmaus Preston, several people recently reached the last step in their support programmes and have now moved into employment and their own homes. So, places are currently available for people who need help moving on from homelessness.”

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

If you or someone you know has been affected by homelessness or is at risk of becoming homeless, and need help from Emmaus Preston visit our Get Support page here. If you are concerned about someone who is rough sleeping, please contact StreetLink which can link up with the nearest homelessness outreach service.