Rising homelessness ‘puts councils under strain’

13 Apr 18

Seven in ten councils in England are struggling to find stable housing for homeless people, charities have warned.  

The number of homeless families and individuals placed in temporary accommodation increased to 78,000 in 2017, 60% higher than in 2012, according to a joint report from homeless charity Crisis and social policy charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The annual Homeless Monitor study said: “Councils across the country are struggling to house people because of a decline in social housing, spiralling private rents, and welfare cuts.”
It noted that private landlords are increasingly reluctant to rent to people receiving welfare .

The report, which took evidence from 186 English councils, predicted that if current trends continue, the number of homeless households in temporary accommodation in England would rise to more than 100,000.

Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes said the findings were “truly terrible” and “unless we take action as a society, this problem will only keep getting worse”.

While praising the government’s recent efforts to tackle homelessness, Sparkes said: “The government must provide more social housing that all homeless people can access if this push is going to succeed.”

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, the report’s lead author said: “The options are narrowing for local authorities charged with preventing and resolving homelessness, as benefit-reliant households are entirely priced out of the private rented sector in some parts of the country.”

Campbell Robb, chief executive of the JRF, described the findings as “simply unacceptable.”

He said: “High housing costs, low pay and insecure work are locking people in poverty and restricting their choices: with councils finding it harder to help, more families are being forced into temporary accommodation.”

Adam Lent, director of the New Local Government Network, said: “The government must urgently give councils the powers and funding to reverse the current surge in homelessness and then review the welfare changes that have led to this moral failure.”

CIPFA is hosting a breakfast morning to discuss how to fix the broken housing market on 24 April

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