Homelessness rises 'significantly' in parts of Devon

Homelessness has significantly risen in North Devon in the last three years.

Figures released by local authorities across the county show a stark rise in the number of people seeking emergency housing help.

In Plymouth alone the figure has trebled in the past year.

John Hamblin, of Devon homeless charity Shenikah Mission, says economic hardship is behind the increase and the region runs the risk of creating a class of "working poor".

A report from North Devon Council highlights a "significant increase" in the number of people homeless or about to be made homeless in the past two years.

In 2011, there were 87 people homeless in North Devon, which increased to 102 in 2012 and 190 in 2013.

The authority said it had increased help for rough sleepers but "a significant amount of the enhanced service provision will reduce from October 2014 creating a risk to this client group".

Councillor Chris Penberthy, from Plymouth City Council, said last year 104 single people asked for help from the housing service because they were immediately homeless and at risk of rough sleeping, compared with 27 in 2012.

However Cornwall Council and West Devon Borough Council said the number of rough sleepers has decreased in that time.

A Cornwall Council spokeswoman said the current mid-year estimate of the number of rough sleepers in Cornwall is 57, down from 77 in October 2013.

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