STRATFORD has the highest rate of rough sleepers in the West Midlands.
New figures from national homeless charity Shelter show there are more people sleeping in the district’s streets per head of population than in the UK’s second city Birmingham.
In the district – which has a population of around 122,300 – the charity recorded 13 people sleeping rough equating to one person in just over 9,400.
In Birmingham – which has a population of over 1.2million – this figure was one in around 20,500.
Coventry also had 13 rough sleepers recorded, but with a population of nearly three times that of Stratford, the number per capita was around one in 27,100
Following Stratford in the ranking was Worcester with one in 10,300, and Walsall, with one in 10,700.
Figures including families and individuals in temporary accommodation came to 202 – or one in 605 – ranked the town sixth for ‘homeless hot spots’ in the West Midlands.
Stratford District Council said it would soon be carrying out its assessment of rough sleepers in the district. Last year’s survey also recorded 13 rough sleepers, most with ties to the district.
A council spokesman said: “The district council’s findings tell them that the majority of rough sleepers are local people. It does see a small number of itinerant arrivals and the council believes their main reason for coming to Stratford is for the money that can be made begging in the town.
“The council would usually work with such new arrivals to re-connect them to their home area and finds that this is usually effective.”
The council employs a ‘rough sleeper engagement officer’ who offers support to those on the streets, and looks at their housing options.
And it runs drop-in sessions for rough sleepers four mornings a week to provide support and advice as well as a ‘Housing First’ scheme where rough sleepers are provided with accommodation and support.
Earlier this year the Observer reported that figures showed homelessness across the district had doubled in the past two years.
The number of individuals and families turning to the district council for emergency accommodation had risen dramatically from 53 to 115 in just ten months.
The main reasons for homelessness in the district are highlighted as breakdown of violent relationships, ending of assured shorthold tenancies, and being evicted by parents, which echo national statistics.