Shelter slams large rise in ‘working homelessness’

24 Jul 18

Expensive rents and a lack of social homes have caused a 73% rise in homelessness among working people, a charity has said.

Analysis of freedom of information requests by the homelessness charity Shelter has revealed that the number of homeless but working families rose from 19,000 in 2013 to 33,000 in 2017.

Shelter says that more than half (55%) of homeless families in temporary accommodation in England are now in work.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It’s disgraceful that even when families are working every hour they can, they’re still forced to live through the grim reality of homelessness.

“We cannot allow struggling families to slip through the cracks created by our housing crisis – the government must urgently come up with a new plan for social housing that delivers genuinely affordable homes we desperately need.”

The charity said that the trend of ‘working homelessness’ is being driven by a combination of expensive private rents, the freeze in housing benefits, and a chronic lack of social homes.

Shelter said that losing a tenancy is now the single biggest cause of homelessness in the country – accounting for 27% of all households accepted as homeless in 2017.

In its report, In work but out of home, the charity said that there are currently 1.2 million households on council waiting lists for a new social home, and there are four households in need for each home that becomes available every year.

Shelter’s analysis showed regional differences in the amount of homeless families who are in work.

In November 2017, 60% of homeless families in London were in work compared to just 9% in Yorkshire and the Humber.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: “Councils have a duty to provide suitable temporary accommodation to those who need it, and families with children get priority.

“So families can get a permanent home, we are investing £9bn in affordable properties, including £2bn for social rent.”

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