Homeless charity in Stoke-on-Trent warns of rise in vulnerable people sleeping rough

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A homeless charity in North Staffordshire has raised concerns after seeing a rise in vulnerable people using its services as temperatures dip below freezing.

‘Help for the Homeless’ has seen a growing number of people who are living rough rely on their services in Stoke-on-Trent.

It comes after the Shelter charity revealed last week that 43 people in the city are without a home.

Figures show 17 of those are currently sleeping on the streets, while the other 26 are without a permanent home but have some form of temporary accommodation.

Help for the Homeless, which was set up two years ago by Chell Heath couple Glyn, 56, and Jeannette Jackson, 51, are now helping almost double the number of people they helped last winter.

They often see as many as 50 people each night come through their doors, compared to around 20 this time last year.

The couple, along with a 30-strong team of volunteers, offer hot food, clothing and a break from the freezing conditions for an hour or so each night.

Mr Jackson fears not enough is being done to help those in need.

“It’s getting busier. We see more and more new faces each week,” Mr Jackson said.

“They would not have anywhere else to go. Not enough is done.

“It takes them a while to find out about what we do, but they are really appreciative.”

Mr Jackson explained how he expects less people on some nights when the temperatures outside hit freezing.

“It’s so cold outside, many won’t want to come out of their tents.”

Ted Reid, 22, moved to Stoke three years ago to live with a friend after being kicked out of his London home.

But he soon found himself back on the streets living rough in the city.

Ted, who uses the service every night, is thankful to the group as they helped him find accommodation of his own when he was on the streets a year ago.

“It’s really nice here,” he said.

“They helped me find a place, if it wasn’t for them I would still be on the streets.”

The report also revealed that 20,900 people are homeless in the West Midlands, which is a record high and the region has seen a 22% increase in homelessness since last year.

Paul Taylor, who used to volunteer for the group and now still visits to keep in touch, also believes more needs to be done in Stoke to battle the problem.

“I’ve been told many times there isn’t a problem in Stoke.

“Someone has got to sit down and work out what can be done.”

‘Help for the Homeless’ puts on services for people in need in the city five days a week.

The couple and their team of volunteers are based at the Norsaca building, Hanley, throughout the week.

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