There are now more than 82,000 households living in temporary accommodation in England – a 71% jump from 50,000 in 2010, the latest figures show.
Homelessness data from the Ministry of Communities and Local Government show a 5% increase in statutory homelessness between April and June this year, compared with 78,540 over the same period last year.
Of the households living in temporary accommodation by the end of June, there were 123,630 children, an average of 2.1 per household.
Nearly one-third of households who approached their local council for help – 17,570 – were those living in private rented accommodation.
Every instance of homelessness is an individual tragedyLocal Government Association
People coming to the end of tenancy contracts was the most common cause, brought on by rising rents, benefit changes, budgeting difficulties and reduced income.
Those living with family accounted for just over a fifth of households assessed as homeless.
Some 1,480 households were sleeping rough at the time of their application, while nearly 7,000 families were living in bed and breakfasts.
The Local Government Association said in a statement: “Many councils are struggling to cope with rising homelessness and to find suitable accommodation for those in need.
“The increasing use of temporary accommodation is not only financially unsustainable for councils but is hugely disruptive for those families placed in such accommodation.
“Every instance of homelessness is an individual tragedy and councils are determined to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place and support families affected.
“Councils need to keep 100% of the receipts of any homes they sell to replace them and reinvest in building more of the genuinely affordable homes they desperately need and the ability to adapt welfare reforms to prevent people from losing their home where possible.”
The fresh statistics are the first to be released since the Homelessness Reduction Act came into force in April this year.
The legislation, an amendment to the Housing Act 1996, created new duties on local authorities in England to assess applicants, and doubled the period during which an applicant was considered “threatened with homelessness” to 56 days.
Heather Wheeler MP, minister for Housing & Homelessness said: “Everyone deserves a safe and secure place to live.
“It is good to see our Homeless Reduction Act making a real difference but we know we need to do more.
“That is why we are investing £1.2bn to tackle all forms of homelessness, we are putting £9bn into our affordable housing programme and we are also empowering councils to borrow to build more council homes to ensure that more people have a home of their own.”
The figures are based on data from 322 out of 326 local authorities in England.