14% Rise in Homelessness Shows the Need for More Homes

Response to the latest Government figures on statutory homelessness.

The latest Government figures on statutory homelessness in England (published today) show that the number of people applying to councils for help with housing has increased by 14% in the last year. They also show a 26% increase in the number of people accepted as homeless but for whom no accommodation has been secured by local authorities.

Responding to the news, Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive of Homeless Link said:

"The number of homeless people going to councils for help continues to rise. This news underlines the need for urgent action to address the chronic shortage of affordable housing in our cities and our countryside.

"If we want a country where everyone has a roof over their head, we must make it a priority to build truly affordable homes.  More land needs to be allocated for the right type of housing, in the right locations. An efficient planning system is key, with a strong focus on delivering affordable housing.

"The Governments proposal to reform local planning policy is an important milestone towards meeting this need for more homes.  This is not just about buildings, it about stopping the damage that homelessness causes to individual lives and communities."

According to analysis of today’s figures by Homeless Link, the umbrella body for 500 homelessness charities, the number of applications for help with housing has increased when compared with last year. 

Changes between the period from April to June 2011 (Q2 2011) and the same period last year (Q2 2010) include:

  • A 14% increase in the total number of applications in the last year (Q2 2010: 22,850 – Q2 2011: 25,980).
  • A 1% increase in the number of applications being accepted (Q2 2010: 44% – Q2 2011: 45%).
  • A 26% increase in the number of people accepted as homeless but for whom no accommodation has been secured by local authorities (Q2 2010: 3,780 – Q2 2011: 4,770).
  • A 4% increase in the number of people becoming homeless due to the end of a shorthold tenancy (Q2 2010: 14% - Q2 2011: 18%).
  • A 29% increase in the number of people being placed in bed and breakfast accommodation by local authorities (Q2 2010: 2,410 – Q2 2011: 3,120). 

Separate research by Homeless Link indicates that the number of bed spaces in hostels for homeless people has fallen by over 1400 since November 2010.Homeless Link welcomes the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and we will be responding to the consultation. We welcome the strong focus on delivering housing as part of mixed communities. We also welcome the emphasis on meeting all housing needs, including the needs of the most vulnerable members of society.