Official figures show the number of households accepted as homeless by English councils has dropped by 2% this year.
Statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government reveal 13,140 households were accepted as homeless between April and June this year, which is 2% lower than during the same quarter last year, reports Inside Housing.
However the number of homeless families in temporary accommodation stood at 59,710 at the end of June which is 6% higher than the same date last year and is a record high for five years.
Melanie Rees, policy services manager at the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), said that despite the drop in homeless applications, there was “a disturbing picture of suffering for increasing numbers of vulnerable people behind that headline figure”.
The most frequent reason for people being made homeless was due to the end of a private tenancy. The ending of a private tenancy has been the most frequent reason for homelessness for the last consecutive nine quarters.
There was a 6% increase in households living in bed and breakfasts to 4,600, and the number of families with children living in such accommodation rose by 2% to 2,130 at the end of June this year.
Gill Payne, director of policy and external affairs at the National Housing Federation, said: “This shocking rise in the number of families stuck in emergency housing is down to our desperate shortage of affordable homes. It’s completely unacceptable that we have thousands of people living in so-called temporary housing, including B&Bs, that are expensive, often in poor condition and offer no stability from which to rebuild their lives.”
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Behind every one of these shocking statistics stands a person or a family who’s gone through the tragedy of losing their home. And what’s more worrying is that we know these figures are only the tip of the iceberg.”
Jacqui McCluskey, director of policy and communications for Homeless Link, said: “The fact that so many people are being placed in temporary accommodation should send another clear signal that there is a desperate shortage of homes that are genuinely affordable to those in greatest need. The alternative of housing people in accommodation like B&Bs is not only unsafe, but is also expensive to taxpayers.”
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