This week, the government announced the results of their annual survey of the numbers of people who are sleeping rough in the UK. As you may have seen from coverage these figures were the result of a survey taken on one night in November last year.

We agree with other charities and specialists that the number of people who are homeless is actually much higher than those reported.

This is especially true when counting people who might not be sleeping rough but are in unsafe, insecure and unsuitable housing. This is certainly our experience at Wycombe Homeless Connection as we have seen a growing number of people accessing our services.

2019 saw the biggest single year for people attending our support centre for help with homelessness and related issues.

The good news is that alongside our ongoing homelessness prevention work, we were able to work with local government and other partner organisations to offer everyone who was sleeping out this winter in Wycombe a temporary bed.

This was the result of a lot of complex, hard work; more resources and funding will be needed to continue this success. In 2019 we also helped prevent the highest number of evictions in our history, stopping the number of people who are homeless growing further.

We are pleased to see a review of the causes of rough sleeping has been announced. We are also pleased to see support for the Housing First model which we believe gives people who are street homeless a good chance to find secure accommodation.

But much more work and funding is needed to ensure there are truly affordable and suitable homes for them to move into.

We hope the promised review will ensure all aspects of homelessness prevention will be properly and robustly explored with adequate funding and attention on the structural causes of homelessness which includes the severe lack of affordable housing and an unforgiving welfare system.

We anticipate that both funding and support will be forthcoming and we will be working with our local government as they make decisions on where best to spend the funding.

We continue to rely on the generosity of people in our community, across South Bucks and beyond for volunteers, resources and funding and as always extend our thanks to them.