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  1. ITV Report

The homeless 'emergency': charity workers warn of winter crisis

Outreach workers in Bristol say their job has never been harder with a 100% rise in homelessness in the past six years.

Igor and Skye from the St Mungo's group in the city search the streets for rough sleepers, bringing them hot coffee and an offer of help.

These outreach workers in Bristol bring help and advice for people sleeping rough. Credit: ITV News

There's definitely been an increase in rough sleeping over past four years, particularly over past 12 months. There's also a housing crisis at the moment so we're finding people are on the streets possibly for longer because we're can't access housing like we were able to four years ago.

– SKYE BEDDINGTON, OUTREACH WORKER, ST MUNGO'S
Charities blame a combination of cuts to support services and a lack of affordable housing Credit: ITV News

Government figures counted 1,768 people sleeping rough in England in 2010. Last year it was 4,134.

But some charities estimate the true figure to be twice as high.

They blame a combination of cuts to support services and a lack of affordable housing.

The Wild Goose drop in centre in Bristol. Credit: ITV News

At The Wild Goose drop in centre in Bristol, staff have witnessed a deterioration in the atmosphere.

There's been a lot more tension, people have been a lot more fractious. Listening and talking with people we're finding out the reason why - there aren't necessarily options for them.

We engage with people to signpost them to other services and we're finding there aren't places we can signpost people to.

– JONNIE ANGEL, THE WILD GOOSE

The government says it's tackling the problem by investing a billion pounds over the next two years and implementing its Homelessness Reduction Act

But critics say that if it wants to get people off the streets it must start by building homes that they can afford.

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