Sharp rise in homelessness in 12 months

Staff and volunteers at The Brick
Staff and volunteers at The Brick

ALMOST 50 per cent more people in Wigan are being made homeless, compared with last year, shocking new figures reveal.

New data released by The Brick, in Arcade Street, reveals that there has been an increase of 43 per cent for new presentations to its services over the last 12 months.

Staff at The Brick, which provides support for homeless people or low-income families, say this is a huge concern but its No Second Night Out scheme, funded by Wigan Council, is working well in keeping people off the streets.

Louise Green, support service manager for The Brick, said: “We have had a 43 per cent increase of clients attending for homeless reasons. Most of it seems to be family breakdown issues. We have a lot of sofa surfers who are coming to the end of their luck with staying with friends and so they present to us. After a period of time it can cause extra stress and can be a financial burden. So they have to leave.

“This has been a steady increase over 12 months, but it is worrying, especially when services are being cut and scaled down year on year. We are doing all we can as a charity but there is not as much support as there was before.”

The Brick’s No Second Night Out focuses on people that are new to the streets and find themselves sleeping rough for the first time, working to ensure they have accommodation sorted quickly.

Since it was launched in 2012, it has helped 200 people and it has reduced the number of rough sleepers from 13 in 2013 to seven last year.

Louise added: “No Second Night Out is a huge benefit to stop the number of rough sleepers and we hope we can continue this. We are reliant on five bed spaces and we are constantly full, so we need more.”