Homeless charity St Mungo’s has had to open its London emergency shelter an unprecedented five times this winter, which includes the second-coldest March since records began. Government figures indicate that there were 5,000 more deaths this March than for the same period in previous years.

The shelter is used to save the lives of those sleeping rough, when temperatures drop to below zero for three consecutive nights and when all the permanent hostel beds are being used. They offer an emergency bed, a hot shower, hot food and clean clothes while the charity looks for more permanent accommodation.

It has been estimated that the taxpayer’s money spent on the 2012 Olympics could permanently house, feed and clothe every homeless person in the UK, with change.

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