THE number of homeless people living in temporary accommodation across Cheshire West has soared in the past year.

Government figures on homelessness show that in the first quarter of this year there were 62 people living in temporary accommodation in the borough, compared to 39 in 2017 and 26 at the start of the decade.

The number of homeless people living in bed and breakfasts across the borough has also risen – from 11 last year to 27 in 2018.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive at homelessness charity Crisis, believes the figures are a ‘stark reminder’ that too many people are stuck in temporary accommodation.

The charity is calling for help to reach families at risk of homelessness as early as possible, and swifter action to get homeless people into secure accommodation.

“Every day we see first-hand the effects of long stays in these types of accommodation,” Mr Sparkes said.

“People can become isolated, with little access to vital support services, in poor conditions with nowhere to wash clothes or cook. No one deserves to live like this.

“When people quickly get the help they need they are far less likely to develop mental and physical health problems. They are far more likely to build networks, find work and move out of homelessness for good.”

The number of households who approached Cheshire West and Chester Council either as homeless or threatened with becoming homeless also increased by 15 per cent last year – from 297 in 2016-17 to 350 in 2017-18.

CWAC is currently looking to increase the number of temporary accommodation units it offers to homeless households to cut down reliance on bed and breakfast.

Cllr Angela Claydon, CWAC cabinet member for housing, said: “There has been a substantial increase across the country in the number of households becoming homeless.

“When considering homeless applications, the council must provide accommodation and, if accepted, this will continue to be the case until the household has a permanent home.

“The council currently uses 44 units of temporary accommodation in Chester, Ellesmere Port and Northwich. Bed and breakfast is also used in a variety of locations.

“The housing options team has already prevented hundreds of households from becoming homeless and last year homelessness prevention by the team went up 12 per cent from 922 in 2016-17 to 1,052 in 2017-18.”

A new homelessness strategy is also set to be developed next year following a review of the issue – including the provision of temporary accommodation and bed and breakfast provision.

Meanwhile, the number of people in temporary accommodation in Cheshire East has doubled from 14 in 2010 to 28 in 2018 – although no one has been living in a bed and breakfast, according to the Government figures.