Councils across England dealt with more than 200,000 cries for help over the last year from people on the brink of homelessness, according to analysis by Shelter.

The charity pointed to Government figures showing that there were 205,100 cases in 2014/15 when local authorities successfully prevented homelessness.

This is an increase of nearly 46% compared with 2009/10, when 140,900 such cases were recorded.

Shelter said that in the last year, 54,000 households ultimately lost their struggle and were made officially homeless.

The charity, which has launched an emergency Christmas appeal, said that in the last year alone, the number of calls to its free helpline reached 450,000 - and one in four of the calls that it was able to answer came from people who faced losing their home within a month.

Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive, said: "It's truly devastating to hear that so many people - including families with children - are teetering on the brink of homelessness."

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "One person without a home is one too many, which is why we've recently announced in the Spending Review an increase to £139 million over the next four years to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

"Since 2010 the Government has provided more than £1 billion to tackle homelessness and support vulnerable households, and statutory homelessness is now less than half the 2003/04 peak."