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Statistics from councils across the country show that 4,751 people were either counted or estimated to be sleeping rough in autumn 2017, a 15% rise on the previous year and more than double the number recorded five years ago.

Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of homeless charity St Mungo's, commented:"Another huge rise in the number of men and women sleeping rough in England, for seven years in a row and 169% since 2010, is shocking and a scandal". These numbers are snapshot counts and estimates but the most accurate we have to work with to inform local and national action.

The figures were compiled by counting the number of people sleeping outside and do not take into account squatters or those in hostels.

"Becoming homeless is about more than just losing the roof over your head, once someone ends up on the streets the damage caused is both immediate and profound".

"Another big problem is people getting into rent arrears due to Universal Credit, causing misery across our city" she added "There needs to be money put into a 24 hour hub for homeless people to go for support, and a night shelter".

"Something drastic has to change if we are to stop this epidemic of homelessness, strengthening the safety net and stopping people ending up in a vulnerable housing situation in the first place". This is up by 15% from the autumn 2016 total of 4,134.

"As part of this, we want to ensure that nobody has to sleep rough on the streets of Oxford". This is an increase of 18% from the 2016 figure of 964.

With 217 people sleeping rough, Westminster was the worst affected by the phenomena, while in second place with 178 rough sleepers recorded was Brighton and Hove, which styles itself a "city of sanctuary" for illegal immigrants and asylum seekers. The remaining three local authorities reporting high increases in rough sleeping were the coastal areas of Southend-on-Sea, Worthing and Eastbourne.

The figures show 14-per-cent of homeless people in England are women (653) and 16-per-cent are European Union nationals from outside the United Kingdom (730).