Families being made homeless ‘every five minutes’

24 May 19

A new family in England was found to be homeless, on average, every five minutes over a recent six-month period, analysis of government data has found.

Data released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government today shows “frightening levels of homelessness in England”, according to the homelessness charity Shelter.

The figures, recorded between July and December in 2018, found that 58,120 households were found to be homeless and a further 70,250 were threatened with homelessness. Shelter calculated that this equated to a new household every five minutes.

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said: “It’s impossible to ignore the frightening levels of homelessness in England right now.

“It is clear that this is a national emergency that won’t go away on its own – real change must happen now.”

In April 2018 the government introduced the Homelessness Reduction Act, which gave local housing authorities new duties to assess, prevent and relieve homelessness for anyone who is homeless or threatened with homelessness.

Despite this, there was a 21% rise in the number of households in temporary accommodation between October 2018 and December 2018, compared with the same period the year before, according to separate analysis by the charity Crisis.

There were 6,980 households living in bed and breakfasts across England in that period, which Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes called “shocking and heartbreaking”.

“B&Bs are no place to call home. They’re often cramped or sub-standard and sometimes even dangerous. What’s worse is more and more people are becoming trapped in these B&Bs for months or even years at a time with no hope of moving on, in part because Local Housing Allowance no longer covers the true cost of renting in large parts of the country,” he said.

Sparkes called for the LHA to be brought back in line with market rents.

Neate echoed this plea to increase housing benefit but also demanded the government build a “new generation” of social homes totalling 3.1 million.  

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