A HOMELESS charity today warned more people could find themselves on the streets as the impact of the recession worsens.
The Blackpool-based Ashley Foundation fears changes to the welfare system could also lead to more people losing their homes.
The charity has launched its own shop in order to raise more funds for tackling homelessness in the resort.
Blackpool mayor Coun Sylvia Taylor officially opened the store on Cookson Street.
The Ashley Foundation, which was set up in 1997, is currently supporting 63 residents in three hostels in Blackpool, and 17 people in move-on flats designed to ease them back into independent living.
Chairman of the trustees Paul Bamber said: “Recently we have seen a different type of client presenting themselves to us because of the economic climate.
“The recession means if someone loses their job, it can affect their mortgage and then put a strain on their relationship and before they know it they have lost their home.
“With changes to the welfare system, we are worried this situation is only going to get worse.
“Virtually 100 per cent of the people we help are Blackpool people.
“The shop is aimed at generating more money so we can either put that into the services we offer or use it as deposits for new properties to provide physical accommodation.
“We have had a lot of great support, for example Paul James on Squires Gate Lane has donated a lot of the furniture we have for sale.”
A 51-year-old former refuse collector, who did not wish to be named, is among the former homeless people for whom the Ashley Foundation has provided a lifeline.
He said: “My marriage broke down and I left home and had nowhere to go.
“I slept rough in public toilets and on the streets of Blackpool for about two months.
“It was very tough.
“I had nowhere to turn to until I went to the Ashley Foundation.
“Now I am volunteering for the new shop and getting my life back on track.”
New Government research, Making Every Contact Count, has called for more early intervention to help people keep a roof over their heads.