The scale of Britain's rough sleeping crisis is today exposed in startling new figures.

Luton, in Bedfordshire, was the only area outside of London to make Shelter's list of the twenty areas with the worst rates of homelessness around England.

New figures published today by the charity found almost one in every 50 Londoners is homeless, compared to one in every 200 people across England who do not have a permanent place to live.

Shelter's analysis found the borough of Newham, in east London, recorded the highest rates of homelessness, with one in 24 people living in temporary accommodation and dozens rough sleeping.

Haringey in north London had the second highest rates of people without a permanent home, followed by Kensington & Chelsea in west London (both one in 29), followed by Westminster in the central city, and Enfield, in the capital's north.

The only areas outside of London to rate in the thirty worst-affected areas for homelessness nationally were Birmingham, Manchester and Slough.

Rough sleeping is on the rise around England

Westminster, the central city borough that houses Parliament, had the highest numbers of rough sleepers in the UK recorded by Shelter, with 306 recorded sleeping on the streets last Autumn.

Those figures were followed by 123 rough sleepers in Manchester, and 91 in Birmingham. 

Across the UK, Shelter's headcount includes 4,677 people sleeping rough.

Overall, one in every 200 people around the UK is homeless this Christmas, the new report has found.

The study by Shelter today revealed the scale of the homelessness crisis, analysing rough sleeping and temporary accommodation figures, along with social services records, to estimate 280,000 people in England are homeless. This is up 23,000 from 2016.

The crisis is concentrated in London, where the number of people recorded as homeless in the capital has reached 170,068, and more than 45,500 threatened with homelessness in the past year.

Shelter’s analysis shows the number of homeless people in the capital has increased by almost 7,000 since 2016 when the charity first published its annual report.

The charity said the crisis can be partly explained by sky-high rents in the capital, where 1,283 are sleeping on the streets.

Craig pictured sleeping on the streets of Nottingham earlier this year

The homelessness figures were measured in March 2019, and found 254,927 across England living in temporary accommodation arranged by themselves or the council, 3,937 being accommodated by social services, 14,684 living in hostels and a further 2,292 not being accommodated by councils.

Experts have blamed the lack of social housing and cuts to housing benefits among reasons for the stark figures.

A review of government data shows 220,000 around England were threatened with homelessness in the last year.

Calling for government action, Shelter warned the grim figures do not take into account hidden homelessness like sofa-surfing, so the true numbers could be even higher. 

Their annual report on homelessness focuses on England alone due to differences in how figures are recorded across Great Britain.

However a previous report from 2018 estimated that there were a further 42,000 across Wales and Scotland.

Stark figures showing the scale of homelessness were released today

England's worst rates of homelessness...

Shelter's figures record how many people were listed as homeless, including those living in temporary accommodation arranged by the council, as at March 2019.

The rough sleeper count was recorded in Autumn 2018.

North East

Middlesbrough had the worst rates of homeless in the North East, with 305 recorded homeless and 11 rough sleeping, recording a rate of one in 445 homeless. It was followed by Gateshead and Durham.

North West

Manchester had the worst rates in the North West, with 5,156 homeless (one in 102 people), and 123 rough sleeping, followed by Salford and Thameside.

Someone sleeps in a doorway in the capital

East of England

In Luton on London's northern outskirts, 4,691 are without a home (one in 46) and 47 rough sleeping. The town was followed by Broxbourne and Harrow.

East Midlands

Northamptonshire county town Kettering had the worst rates with 497 recorded homeless (one in 192), with 17 rough sleeping. It was followed by the cities of Northampton and Nottingham.

South East

In Brighton and Hove, 3,876 were recorded homeless (one in 75), with 64 sleeping on the streets. It was followed by Slough and Milton on Keynes.

South West

The Dorset coastal town of Christchurch recorded 172 homeless and six rough sleepers (one in 274). It was followed by Gloucester and Bristol.

London

The east London borough of Newham had the worst rates of homelessness across England and the capital with 14,456 recorded homeless and 79 rough sleeping (a rate of one in 24). It was followed by Haringey in north London, and Kensington & Chelsea out west.

West Midlands

Birmingham recorded 8,118 homeless and 27 rough sleepers (a rate of one in 274 people). The city's figures dwarfed the numbers in Rugby and Coventry, which were both still grappling with hundreds of cases of homelessness.

Yorkshire & The Humber

The town of Doncaster had 152 listed homeless and 27 rough sleepers (a rate of one in 619). It was followed by Scarborough and Wakefield.

Sarah Martin, 40, spent a year living in 'squalid' temporary accommodation with her son

One London mum shares her plight

Sarah Martin and her 14-year-old son Ishmael spent a year living in “squalid” and cockroach infested temporary accommodation.

The mum is from Newham, London’s worst borough for homelessness according to the figures, with one in 24 people without a home.

The pair became homeless after Sarah’s mother died and they were evicted from the house.

The 40-year-old said: “I suffered a mini-stroke as a result of MS, which led to myself and Ishmael moving back in with my mum for extra support.

“We were dealt another blow when my mum passed away - before I even had time to grieve, we were facing eviction from the place we’d called home for years.”

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said: “Homelessness blights lives and leaves a lasting imprint of trauma, and yet 280,000 people in England are without a home this Christmas. And many are only days away from joining them.

"The almost complete lack of social homes in this country, combined with pricey private rents and cuts to housing benefit, mean homelessness really can happen to anyone.

“As well as those facing serious ill-health or even death sleeping rough on our streets this winter, there are thousands of families trapped in grotty emergency B&Bs, with no space for children to sit and eat, let alone play. This is the grim truth our new government must confront and do something radical to change.”

And charity Crisis has warned today that councils are struggling to meet growing demand for priority housing as numbers of people with physical ill health or disability experiencing homelessness also rises.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said it was supporting councils to reduce the numbers of people in temporary accommodation.

The spokesman added: “(We’re) giving £1.2 billion to tackle all types of homelessness.

“Everyone should have somewhere safe to live, and councils have a duty to provide accommodation to those who need it, including families with children."