Laura Sharman 14 December 2017

Increase in homelessness a 'national outrage'

Increase in homelessness a 'national outrage'

The number of homeless households in temporary accommodation has risen by more than 50% in the past five years, according to new figures released today.

The latest government homelessness statistics show there were 79,190 households in temporary accommodation at the end of September 2017, up 6% from the year before.

Local authorities in England also accepted 15,290 households as being statutorily homeless between July and September 2017, up from 6% on the previous quarter.

‘It’s clear the current situation is unsustainable for councils, and disruptive for families,’ said cllr Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s housing spokesman. ‘On average over the last three years, councils are having to house the equivalent of an extra secondary school’s worth of homeless children in temporary accommodation every month.

‘We must tackle our shortage of affordable homes by building more of them if we’re to truly get to grips with our national housing shortage. While the Government’s indication that it will explore ways to enable councils to build more homes is encouraging, these new homes can’t appear overnight, and the demand is urgent.’

The LGA are calling for the Government to give councils the freedom to borrow to build new homes in the upcoming Local Government Finance Settlement.

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) said the figures were a ‘national outrage’. Chief executive, Terrie Alafat, said: ‘There has been a frankly unacceptable rise in the number of households in temporary accommodation, which has soared by a staggering 65% since the low of December 2010. That figure includes more than 2,500 families with children trapped in bed and breakfast accommodation, which is often very poor quality and highly unsuitable.

‘History tells us that we can reduce or even eliminate homelessness but it does require a co-ordinated approach – that means government investment, funding for affordable housing and a concerted effort across the housing and homelessness sectors.’

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