Stockport homeless charity The Wellspring revealed that in 2013 they supported 124 known homeless people, and in 2014 this had risen to 340 – a rise of 174 per cent. This figure is expected to rise again this year.
A number of issues have been cited including welfare cuts and the housing shortage, as well as the availability of legal highs which many have turned to in their time of crisis.
Critics are also concerned about the upcoming scrapping of housing benefits for people under the age of 21 and sales of the most expensive council houses in the town, a scheme under which Stockport will be the most affected borough in the north west.
Jonathan Billings, project manager for The Wellspring, said: “In the last few years we have noticed an increase at The Wellspring and unfortunately this is the situation in most of the towns and cities across the UK.
“We have had to deal with at least a doubling in numbers and rely on donations from the generous community. We are trying to do the best we can to support the already homeless in Stockport and prevent more residents from ending up at this point.”
Jonathan also expressed fears that many of the charity’s clients are under 21 and rely on the housing benefits which are set to be scrapped.
Campbell Robb, chief executive at national homeless charity Shelter, added: “Deeper cuts to welfare will do no more than add fuel to the fire of this growing crisis.
“The only way for the government to break the cycle of homelessness is to invest in building homes that people on lower incomes can actually afford.”
Tragically, many have died on the streets of Stockport, including Stefan Tomkins, 31, who was crushed to death after the dustbin he was sleeping in was loaded onto a bin lorry
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