The number of people sleeping rough in England is more than double what Government statistics suggest, homelessness charity says.
Research commissioned by Crisis and undertaken by Heriot-Watt University shows that 12,300 people are currently sleeping rough on the street.
It also found that nearly 12,000 are spending their nights in cars, trains, buses or tents.
The number of homeless people has increased considerably over the last six years, Crisis warned.
Between 2012 and 2017, the numbers have soared by 120% in England and 63% in Wales. Numbers in Scotland fell by 6% over the same period.
These figures are much higher than the Government’s official statistics because those are based solely on local authority estimates using local information or a physical count on one given night.
However, Heriot-Watt University’s study collates the official figures with other sources of data, including academic studies, statutory statistics, and data from other support services.
‘Christmas should be a time of joy, but for thousands of people sleeping rough, in tents or on public transport, it will be anything but,’ said chief executive of Crisis Jon Sparkes.
’While most of the country will be celebrating and enjoying a family meal, those who are homeless will face a struggle just to stay safe and escape the cold.’
‘We’re asking members of the public who want to help to support our work this Christmas and year-round — so we can be there for everyone who needs us and give people in the most vulnerable circumstances support to leave homelessness behind for good,’ he added.