Amid a nationwide housing problem it has been revealed almost 500 people in Kingston are homeless.

In the last financial year, Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness (KCAH) dealt with 444 new clients, and figures from homeless charity Shelter show 461 households in the borough are homeless.

According to the charity 346 of those are families with children.

The majority of the people KCAH work with have some degree of housing need, 55 per cent declared themselves as homeless immediately.

Matt Hatton, operational director of KCAH, said: “The number of people requiring our advice service has not risen – the complexities of why they become homeless has.

“Mental health, for instance, is a huge issue. KCAH estimates that there are always about 30 people sleeping rough in the borough.

“If they become entrenched on the streets, it is much harder to help them.”

KCAH was set up in 1993 by more than 50 churches in Kingston and supports single people who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless or experiencing serious housing problems.

It offers a drop-in advice service, makes referrals to housing providers, provides temporary accommodation, holds a job club and provides emergency clothing, equipment and food.

Outreach teams are working to bring change in Kingston.

Mr Hatton said: “Without housing services like the YMCA, the Joel Project and our own accommodation project for the single homeless, the issue of rough sleepers would be hard for the local community to ignore.”

A council spokeswoman said: ''We work extremely hard to prevent our residents from becoming homeless, through negotiation with landlords and by working to maintain a relationship with residents so that we can provide advice and support. 

"In 2014/15 we prevented 544 households from becoming homeless. The council also received 404 applications from households under the homelessness legislation and accepted a duty towards 219 households under that legislation.

"Homelessness has sadly been increasing across London, including Kingston. We are faced with a number of challenges when working to prevent homelessness, including welfare reform, finding affordable alternative accommodation, and the competitive nature of the private rented sector.''