More than 5,000 West Midlands children and expectant mothers are forced to live in temporary accommodation because they are homeless.
The shocking scale of the homelessness problem in the region is revealed by Government figures.
A total of 5,159 children and pregnant women were in temporary accommodation arranged by their local authority in the West Midlands at the end of September, the new figures show.
That included 3,648 in Birmingham alone.
It meant 576 children or expectant mothers in Birmingham were living in bed and breakfast accommodation found for them by the council, and 187 were in hostels.
The majority were found accommodation with a private landlord or in a property owned by the council.
The statistics were published by the Department for Communities and Local Government as an independent watchdog warned that even people in good jobs are at risk of becoming homeless.
And that’s one of the reasons why the Government is under intense pressure to solve the housing crisis.
People such as nurses are now struggling to afford a roof over their head, according to Michael King, the Local Government Ombudsman.
The problem is caused by the increasing cost of private rents.
He said: “Our cases show many pre-conceived ideas about the people affected by homelessness simply no longer ring true. The increasing cost of private rents has meant we have seen a shift towards more people in professions such as nursing, and their families, becoming affected.”
But Mr King, who deals with complaints about councils, said he was concerned that local authorities were failing to provide adequate accommodation for people who are homeless.
Homelessness is sometimes seen as an issue which affects London and the surrounding area.
However, it’s also a problem in the West Midlands.
Government figures show 8,300 people in the West Midlands were found to be homeless and in “priority need” in the 12 months up to March 2017.
This means their local council had a duty to provide them with emergency accommodation.
You can be in priority need if you have dependent children, you’re pregnant, you’re under 18, you’ve recently left care or you are considered “vulnerable”, perhaps because you have health problems.
Another 2,710 people in the West Midlands were homeless but not in priority need.
Government figures also show homelessness is increasing nationally.
Local authorities accepted 15,290 households as being statutorily homeless between July 1 and September 30. This is up by 6% compared to the previous three months, and up 2% compared to the same period of time a year previously.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn chose to highlight homelessness in the House of Commons this week. He told Prime Minister Theresa May: “When it comes to housing, this government has been an absolute disgrace.”
But the Government knows there’s a problem. It just can’t agree what to do about it.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, the MP for Bromsgrove, wanted to wanted the Government to borrow to build new homes. Privately, he is said to have wanted £50 billion for housebuilding.
But Chancellor Philip Hammond was reluctant to authorise borrowing on this scale.
His preferred option was to open up green belt land for building - but this is opposed by many Conservative MPs.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “Tackling homelessness is a complex issue with no single solution, but we are determined to help the most vulnerable in society.
“That’s why we are providing over £1 billion up to 2020 to prevent and reduce all forms of homelessness and rough sleeping. We are also bringing in the Homelessness Reduction Act - the most ambitious legislation in decades that will mean people get the support they need earlier.
“Councils have a duty to provide safe, secure and suitable temporary accommodation.”