MORE than 50 people could be sleeping rough on the streets of Bournemouth and Poole this Christmas, the latest figures suggest.

Homeless charity Shelter has warned of a “critical Christmas” as statistics show the charity’s national helpline receives a call every 22 seconds for help during the festive season.

Numbers of rough sleepers on Bournemouth’s streets, according to the latest count, is 39 - while there are 13 in neighbouring Poole. Bournemouth Council housing strategy and policy manager Caroline Roundhill said: “Bournemouth Council, charities and support organisations are helping people who are rough sleeping in the town not just at Christmas but year-round. The council commissions St Mungo’s to deliver our rough sleeper outreach service. They are in regular contact to ensure that this support is offered to anyone rough sleeping in the borough.”

A crippling combination of rising homelessness, sky-high rents, problems with universal credit and a lack of affordable homes means many will spend Christmas on the streets this Christmas. When the Echo walked around Bournemouth town centre at least half a dozen people were spotted sleeping in doorways.

Bournemouth Salvation Army Major David Alton told the Daily Echo: “We need to remember the homeless at this time of year - although it is a year-round problem. People’s generosity know no bounds in terms of helping those in need.”

Any traders, or members of the public, who are concerned about someone rough sleeping can help by contacting StreetLink.

The details will be swiftly passed on to St Mungo’s, Ms Roundhill said.

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