The co-founder of one of Bolton’s homelessness charities said he ‘fears’ the number of people seeking help at soup kitchens and food banks will worsen as winter approaches - and they are already working at ‘full capacity’.

Billa Ahmed, Homeless Aid UK's co-founder, said each day they are seeing new faces seeking help and the situation is set to worsen as the colder months approach.

He said: “I was just reading some research from last year by another charity where there were more than 1,300 people that died, those that were rough sleeping or in temporary accommodation.

“During winter quite often, we see quite a few people die from the extreme weather and from hypothermia and other illnesses.

“The situation that we have here in Bolton is that there is not enough properties to move people on.

“The government, the council and myself are working to try and get people off the streets, but the situation is there is no property in Bolton to move them on from temporary accommodation.

“Lots and lots of people are reporting to us that they are homeless, there are quite a number of people who are presenting as homeless turning up to use our services including the soup kitchen.

“The number of people we are seeing has increased by about 30 per cent over the last year and the numbers are actually going through the roof.

“There is definitely more affordable housing needed, there has got to be more property being made available.

“More or less every single week and daily we are getting phone calls off people where they are being served section 21s (no fault evictions).

The Bolton News: Homeless Aid UK help people at their soup kitchensHomeless Aid UK help people at their soup kitchens (Image: NQ)“Landlords are increasing their rent and I just fear the numbers we are seeing are just the beginning it is going to get far worse over the next year or two.

“Even our food banks are extremely busy at the moment, we are running at full capacity and the numbers are getting higher.

“A lot of new faces are turning up asking us for advice and we are telling them to present to Bolton housing options who are doing a really good job, and we are also recommending Citizens Advice and there are other organisations as well.”

Billa said the community can help the homeless in a number of ways as winter approaches.

He said: “Check up on elderly neighbours as well, check up on family members and check up on the homeless and make sure they are ok.

“If people are going to be giving sleeping bags out make sure they are the correct sleeping bags, we see this too often where the wrong season sleeping bag is given so we need to make sure we give season four and five sleeping bags.

“The problem with giving the wrong sleeping bag is if in the evening the temperature drops it can have a massive effect on the health and wellbeing of the homeless person.

“People can also help by making sure homeless people have food, any coats which are nice and thick try to give them out or people are welcome to pass any donations on to us, we are still in need of men’s winter clothing.

“People can also advice people to attend our soup kitchens or food bank if they are struggling.”

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