Numbers Of Rough Sleepers Up In The West Midlands

It's estimated 186 people in the West Midlands spent last night sleeping on the streets.

The number has risen since the last count and the highest number of people sleeping on the streets was recorded in Worcester where there were 22.

In Birmingham there were 20 a 43% rise according to the City Council.

They've told Heart they're working both in the long and the short term to combat the problem.

Councillor John Cotton said: "It's a 43 percent rise on the previous year, now obviously that's an annual snap shot, but it does I think indicate the real challenges that we're facing around homelessness in the city.

"We're working all year round to identify where rough sleepers are.

"We're very proactive in sending our team out to work with those people when they are identified and ensuring that we are trying to tackle all symptoms and causes of rough sleeping in the city.

"We're trying to provide that support to people who present as homeless but we're also trying to do some long term stuff to move people back onto the housing ladder."

One of the more long term measures being taken is to try and improve homeless people's health and Birmingham City Council have been praised for that by charity St Mungo's Broadway.

It's after they became one of the first authorities to sign up to a charter dedicated to improving homeless health.

Councillor Cotton also told Heart more about why addressing homeless people's health is so important.

He said: "All the evidence shows that it has a really terrible impact on people's health and wellbeing.

"The average age of people who die whilst homeless is 47 and for women it's just 43.

"73% of homeless people have a physical health problem, 80% report having a mental health problem, so in terms of the health and wellbeing of those individuals being homeless has a real impact upon them.

"We're not going to let up on this because we know that people deserve far better than they're getting at the moment and we're certainly doing all we can to work with those people."

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