Homelessness numbers 'a national disgrace' says CIH
Responding to the latest homelessness statistics for England, released today by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) policy and practice officer Faye Greaves said: “The fact that so many people are homeless in England today is quite simply a national disgrace.
While the number of households accepted as homeless has dropped slightly over the past year, today’s figures show that it has jumped by 45 per cent since the low of 2009. And the real picture is likely to be much worse – for everyone who goes to their council for help there are likely to be many more ‘hidden homeless’ people sofa surfing and sleeping on public transport for example.
“The number of households in temporary accommodation has soared by a staggering 64 per cent since the low of December 2010 – this is frankly unacceptable. It’s encouraging to see a 27 per cent drop in the number of families with children being housed in bed and breakfast accommodation, but there are still too many families trapped in this kind of accommodation, which is often very poor quality and highly unsuitable.
“Our national housing crisis combined with the welfare changes in recent years have created a toxic mix. The Homelessness Reduction Act, which comes into force in less than two weeks, has the potential to help councils do more to tackle homelessness – but only if the government makes sure they have enough resources to put it into practice effectively. And ultimately, if we really want to tackle this issue we need to start building more genuinely affordable homes. Our research has shown that government investment in building new homes has plummeted while spending on housing benefit has soared, and we have lost more than 150,000 homes for social rent between 2012 and 2017. Investment must be switched to bricks and mortar and we need to make sure we are building the right homes, in the right places, at the right prices.”