Skegness homeless referrals 'go up by 50%'

The manager for a homeless centre in Lincolnshire says the number of referrals it has received in the past year has gone up by 50%.

George Hockings, who runs Witham Lodge in Skegness, said in 2011 the centre had 900 referrals compared with 600 in the previous year.

Despite the increased numbers, Mr Hockings said the centre only had capacity for 104 residents.

He added the increase was probably due to welfare services being cut back.

"The only thing I can put it down to is the fact the government is cutting services around the country and there are fewer hostel places," Mr Hockings said.

"We are getting an awful lot of referrals which we cannot take because we can only take from the Lincolnshire area."

Mr Hockings added that when the centre, which is run by the Salvation Army, was full people sometimes ended up sleeping on the beach.

John Marshall, chief executive of Centrepoint Outreach in Boston, said the number of visits to the drop-in centre had doubled in the last five years.

"There are only 14 temporary bed spaces in the Boston area and we have difficulty referring people to accommodation," he said.

"There are at least 30 people sleeping rough in Boston on a regular basis."

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