Statistics released by the Department for Communities and Local Government have revealed that:
- Between 1 January and 31 March 2017 local authorities accepted 14,600 households as being statutorily homeless, up 1% on the previous quarter and down 1% on the same quarter last year
- The total number of households in temporary accommodation on 31 March 2017 was 77,240, up 8% on a year earlier, and up 61% on the low of 48,010 on 31 December 2010
- There were 6,590 households living in bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation, an increase of 11% from 5,960 as at 31 March 2016. Of these 3,010 (46%) had dependent or expected children
- Of the 77,240 households in temporary accommodation on 31 March 2017, 21,950 (28%) were in accommodation in another local authority district. This is an increase of 10%, from 19,880 at the same date last year (28% of the total). Of the 21,950 accommodated in another local authority district, 19,670 were from London authorities (90% of the England total).
We have seen homelessness steadily rising since 2010, partly because of the pressures on the housing market but also due to welfare changes that have come into force over the past few years. So whilst worrying the figures are sadly not surprising.
There is a continuing rise in the numbers of households in temporary accommodation, which has soared by a staggering 61% since December 2010. More and more homeless people are finding themselves stuck in temporary accommodation with no way of planning for the future. Not only is this distressing for those involved, it’s also incredibly expensive for the taxpayer, when for a fraction of this cost we could be preventing people from losing their home in the first place.
There has also been a jump in the number of households placed outside their local authority district, which may be down to the increasing cost of housing, especially in London.
Welfare reforms and a desperate shortage of affordable rented homes are making it harder for councils to house homeless people. Crisis research shows that nearly two thirds of English councils are struggling to find social tenancies for homeless people, while half are finding it ‘very difficult’ to help homeless people into private renting.