UK
24/06/2015 23:01 BST | Updated 24/06/2015 23:59 BST

England's 'Homelessness Crisis' On The Rise, Campaigners Warn

England is "sleepwalking into a homelessness crisis", campaigners have warned, with figures showing 65,000 households are in temporary accommodation - the highest since 2008.

In the first three months of this year, 13,520 households were accepted as homeless across England - an 8% increase compared to the same period last year.

Furthermore, 2,570 families with children were living in emergency B&B accommodation - a rise of 35% compared with the first quarter of last year and the highest level since 2003.

homelessness

There has been an 16% rise in the number of people sleeping rough in London, campaigners say

High private-sector rents and cuts to housing benefits are largely to blame for the crises, campaigners warn, with the largest single cause of homelessness being the loss of an assured shorthold tenancy with a private landlord.

Jon Sparkes, the chief executive of Crisis, said: "Clearly something is going badly wrong with our private rented sector.

"More and more households are struggling to pay their rent in an increasingly insecure market, while cuts to housing benefit have left the safety net in tatters. For anyone finding themselves in difficulty, the prospects are decidedly bleak.

"England is sleepwalking into a homelessness crisis, and we've yet to hear what our new government intends to do about it.

"Local authorities are in an impossible situation. We need decisive political action to fix our broken private rented sector, along with radical solutions to tackle the severe shortage of affordable homes.

"At the same time, we must have a safety net that genuinely protects tenants struggling to make ends meet."

More than 90,000 children are living in temporary accommodation, said homelessness charity Shelter, which is the highest number since 2008.

The growing problem has been linked to welfare cuts, which has made the situation "a whole lot worse", said Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb.

anti austerity protest

A quarter of a million people marched against the Tory cuts on Saturday

This week, the day after 250,000 people marched in London against austerity, the government confirmed that it will be slashing £12 billion in welfare.

Henry Gregg, assistant director of communications and campaigns at housing association body the National Housing Federation, said statistics were "a shameful reminder of Britain's housing crisis".

He said: "Some 16,000 households were made homeless this year because their tenancy ended and their landlord turfed them out - this is the highest in a decade.

"Successive governments have failed to build enough homes for decades, and this is the result. Housing associations want to build the homes these people and this country need.

"The government must back this ambition by bringing forward land and providing proper investment to help end the housing crisis."

Rick Henderson, chief executive of umbrella body Homeless Link, said there had been a 16% rise in rough sleeping in London.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "This Government is making sure that action is being taken to ensure that all homeless people have access to the help they need to get back on their feet.

"Since 2010, we have increased spending to prevent homelessness, making over £500 million available to local authorities and the voluntary sector to support the most vulnerable in society and put strong protections in place to guard people against the threat of homelessness.

"This is to ensure there is no return to the days 10 years ago, when homelessness in England was nearly double what it is today."

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