The district council has said the number of people sleeping rough in Mid Sussex is ‘very concerning’.
Although the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics are relatively low, the council has agreed rough sleeping is increasing nationally and in Mid Sussex.
Its Housing Needs Team is ‘reaching out’ to rough sleepers and is providing them with advice and support, the council told the Middy.
The number of people sleeping rough has more than doubled since 2010.
Figures revealed three people were sleeping rough on any given night in the area during autumn 2010 compared to eight during autumn 2017 – a 166.67 per cent increase.
A record high was seen in autumn 2014. Figures recorded 11 people were sleeping rough at that time. But this has since decreased by 27 per cent, down to just eight people last year.
Before this significant peak in 2014, figures show the number of rough sleepers increased between 2011 and 2013.
In 2011 there were five people sleeping rough on any given night compared to three in 2010 – a 66.67 increase, according to the figures. And in 2012 and 2013 there were six people sleeping rough – a 100 per cent increase.
Councillor Andrew MacNaughton, cabinet member for Housing and Planning at Mid Sussex District Council, said: “Homelessness is increasing nationally and this is also true for Mid Sussex. Fortunately the numbers sleeping rough in Mid Sussex are still low relative to other areas, having increased by two since 2013.
“The estimate, based on local knowledge for a single night in November 2017 was a total of eight rough sleepers, which is still clearly very concerning.
“There are a number of reasons for the increase, including the lack of affordable housing, particularly for single people under 35 years, and the impact of some welfare reforms.
“The council’s Housing Needs Team reaches out to rough sleepers in the district, providing advice and support to help them find housing wherever possible.”
The figures show rough sleepers in the district is almost half the national average – 0.13 people of every 1,000 households were sleeping rough compared to the national rate of 0.2 people to every 1,000 households.