'Damning' increase in homelessness

By Dan Peters and William Eichler | 12 September 2019

The number of households that are homeless or at risk of homelessness has increased by more than 10%, according to figures published today.

Between January and March 70,430 households were initially assessed as threatened with homelessness or homeless – up 10.7% from 63,620 households in the previous quarter.

At the end of March the number of households in temporary accommodation was 84,740 – up 1.4% from 83,610 at the end of last year. In London the number of households in temporary accommodation at the end of March was 56,280 – 66.4% of the England total.

Homelessness has increased by 66% across England since 2010.

Senior researcher at think-tank Reform, Luke Heselwood, called the increase ‘damning,’ adding: ‘Too many people are stranded in temporary accommodation, which is insecure and costly to the taxpayer.’

Chief executive of homelessness charity Shelter, Polly Neate, said: ‘During a year when Brexit negotiations have totally dominated the political agenda, catastrophic numbers of people have become homeless.

‘While the housing crisis is out of the spotlight, families with young children are trapped in grim temporary accommodation like B&Bs and shipping containers, and young people feel the damaging effects of growing up in a housing emergency.

‘Cripplingly expensive private rents, frozen housing benefits, and lengthy waiting lists for social homes are pushing people to the sharp edge of a housing emergency, which won’t go away without genuinely affordable homes. The Government must invest in a new generation of social homes if they are to pull hundreds of thousands of people out of homelessness.’

Cllr David Renard, of the Local Government Association, said: ‘A lack of affordable housing has left many councils struggling to cope with a rising number of people coming to them for help.’

Homelessness minister Luke Hall said: ‘The figures show that progress is being made. There is still more to do, which is why we have committed a record investment to end homelessness and rough sleeping for good.’

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