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05 Dec 2016

Growing crisis on UK streets as rough sleeper numbers soar

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Charities raise concerns for homeless people over recent deaths and falling temperatures

Jason Nash wears all three of his jackets and both his pairs of jeans at the same time. His sleeping bag doesn’t look like it has the greatest filling but he tries to get inside the stairwell of a block of flats to sleep when he can so at least he doesn’t get wet if it rains overnight.

Now 26, Nash has had only sporadic periods of living under a roof since he left care. He has a heroin and crack problem which costs him around £60 a day. “When I’m off my nut I can sleep. I don’t think you can live on the streets sober. It’s cold,” he says.

Nash is one of the rapidly growing number of people sleeping rough on Britain’s streets. With some of the harshest weather of the winter still to come, charities and local authorities say this rapid rise is extremely concerning.

Three homeless people have died in the last 10 days – two men died in a fire at a derelict building in Manchester and last Tuesday a 30-year-old man died in his sleeping bag in a Birmingham car park. There have been “tent city” protests in Leeds, Manchester and Hull over the past few weeks, with homeless people demonstrating against what they see as local authority inaction on the issue.

Read the full story on the Guardian website

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