A Hampshire charity has said that housing issues coupled with the cost-of-living crisis have made homelessness worse.

The Southampton-based homelessness charity, the Society of St. James, has been raising £15,000 as part of their festive appeal that will be spent on rough sleepers in Southampton.

These funds will be spent on small gifts, extra food and small Christmas-themed events at local Southampton hostels spread across the city.

The remaining money will then be spent on the long term work that is carried out by the charity in order to support the homeless.

Society of St. James Chief Executive Trevor Pickup said that nationally a shortage of accommodation is the most commonly cited reason for rough sleeping.

This comes after it was revealed that 8000 people are on the waiting list for council accommodation in the city.

The charity Chief Executive said: “We have seen high numbers of rough sleepers and homeless across Hampshire and Southampton.

“Since the pandemic, we are now seeing the impact of a year of high inflation and expensive utility costs.

“This has contributed to the high levels of homelessness we have seen this year.

“The biggest concern is in relation to the housing situation. We have seen the private renting sector shrinking and to combat this, we at St. James, are growing our hostel units – but we can’t keep up with demand."

Trevor said that substance abuse, mental health and leaving prison were also among the top reasons for homelessness in Hampshire.

He continued: “What is worse is that while everyone is celebrating at Christmas it can be one of the most difficult periods for the homeless.

“Of course, it is bitterly cold at this time, leaving many at risk of chest infections and other illnesses. Rough sleepers are also at risk of being victims of theft.

“It can be a real painful time for people that are not in contact with their loved ones.

“We hope this money can bring a little joy to some of these rough sleepers this year.”