Concern that homelessness in Cambridge is at ‘tipping point’

  • New figures from Cambridge City Council have revealed that 100 households presented themselves as homeless between April and July this year. risinghouse.jpg

    Not only do figures show a rise in quarterly numbers by 24 households, they also reveal that over 350 cases were placed in temporary accommodation over the last year, which was a rise of 50 cases on the previous year, reports The Cambridge News.

    The city council’s executive councillor for housing, councillor Kevin Price has said welfare reform is to blame.

    "The number of people presenting as homeless has risen every year since 2010 and after the further welfare reforms announced in the government's July budget, such as freezing housing benefit and removing it from young people aged 18 - 21, we expect it to rise even faster. We have also seen a marked increase in the number of people whose tenancies have been ended by private sector landlords or where landlords will not accept people on housing benefit, even if they're in work. We have increased our temporary accommodation stock and hope to have 95 by the end of the year and we put a lot of resource in preventing homelessness as well. Being homeless, especially with children, is always a time of crisis for those affected. As well as helping individual households restart their lives, we will carry on making the case against welfare reforms and for allowing councils real freedoms to build social housing."

    Cllr Peter Sarris, who leads the city council's work on homelessness, added: "The current surge in applications simply reveals the tip of the iceberg of Cambridge's mounting housing crisis. There are many other families and individuals who are struggling to keep their heads above the financial water, and whom further private sector rent rises, or simply bad luck such as a bout of ill health risk reducing to poverty and homelessness. These figures reveal the strenuous efforts being made by council officers and our social partners to help those in need, but the measures contained in the recent budget and government plans to asset strip housing associations and charities are only going to make the situation worse. We are at tipping point."
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