Figures released by Homeless Link today (Thursday 14 June) reveal that almost 4,000 bed spaces have been lost in accommodation services for homeless people, as the latest Government statistics show a 16% rise in demand for homelessness services.
The research by Homeless Link, the umbrella organisation for homelessness services in England, also highlights that more than half of local authorities no longer provide hostel accommodation for homeless people. It finds that:
According to analysis by Homeless Link of the Government figures published today, between January and March 2012:
Responding to today’s statistics Matt Harrison, Interim Chief Executive of Homeless Link, says:
“These statistics are worrying and it’s easy to see why – demand for homelessness services is rising while provision is decreasing.
“We may be starting to see the impact of welfare reform, as the number of people having their tenancies ended has increased by almost half. Meanwhile hostels and other services are slipping dangerously close to the wire, trying to provide services to more people with fewer resources.”
“Despite the lack of accommodation services available there is no reason why local authorities cannot provide options for homeless people. Emergency accommodation such as Nightstops, which house young people until they are placed in longer term accommodation, can prevent those at risk of homelessness having to sleep on the streets.
“We are calling on every local authority to make sure they are providing emergency accommodation to meet this rise in demand. We have now seen a steady increase in homelessness over the past two years. It is clear that if we don’t act now this problem is only going to get bigger and more expensive for everyone.”
The statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government are available from www.communities.gov.uk
More information on Homeless Link’s recommendations for implementing emergency accommodation can be found at homeless.org.uk/emergency-accommodation-project