Homelessness 'a national disgrace': CIH responds to latest statistics
Responding to the latest homelessness statistics for England, released today by the Department for Communities and Local Government, Chartered Institute of Housing policy and practice officer Faye Greaves said: "To have so many people homeless in 2017 is quite simply a national disgrace and something we must act on now.
"Although the number of households accepted as homeless has dropped slightly since last year, today’s figures show it has jumped by more than 50 per cent since 2009. That’s partly because of pressures on the housing market but also some of the welfare changes that have come into force over the past few years. Our research with the University of Sheffield has shown that the vast majority of councils and housing associations believe government welfare policy is hitting their efforts to tackle homelessness. And as the London Assembly has shown this week, 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.
"We are particularly concerned about the continuing rise in the number of households in temporary accommodation, which has soared by a staggering 63 per cent since December 2010. That figure includes thousands of families with children trapped in bed and breakfast accommodation, which is often very poor quality and highly unsuitable."
CIH is calling on the government to use the Autumn Budget to make sure that councils have the resources they need to carry out their new duties under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, and also to establish an expanded ‘Housing First’ programme aimed at halving rough sleeping by 2022 and ending it by 2027.
Faye Greaves said: "History tells us that we can reduce or even eliminate homelessness but it does require a co-ordinated approach – that means government investment, funding for affordable housing and a concerted effort across the housing and homelessness sectors."