The number of people who are homeless has leaped by 10% in London, according to government figures, as one leading charity admitted it gives tickets to rough sleepers to find shelter on night buses if there is not enough hostel accommodation available.
Figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government showed that alongside the rise in the capital, 5% more households in England were regarded as homeless between 1 April and 30 June compared with the same period in 2014.
The New Horizon Youth Centre in Euston, north London, said it gave travelcards to at least one person a week as its director, Shelagh O'Connor, was forced to admit it was "safer" for a young person to spend all night on a bus than it was sleeping on the streets of the capital.
The increase in London accounted for just under a third of the total number of people recorded as homeless in England in the three-month period as the government struggles to meet house-building targets in one of the largest housing slowdowns of recent decades.
Of the homeless, almost 100,000 children are living in temporary accommodation and have now officially classified as "statutorily homeless" as homeless charity Crisis blamed the private rental sector.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of the charity, said: "Homelessness rose by 5% between April and June compared to the same time last year. Nearly a third of these people became homeless following the ending of a private tenancy. This is totally unacceptable and reflects the desperate state of our private rented sector."
The figures showed the number of people in temporary accommodation had shot up by 12% by 30 June in London and had risen by 13% in the rest of England compared with the same time in 2014. The majority of these contained children and/or a pregnant woman, with 99,080 children or expected children with an average age of two housed in temporary accommodation. Nearly three quarters (74%) of the country's total households in temporary accommodation lived in the capital.