The Charted Institute of Housing have said that headline homelessness figures are hiding what is a disturbing picture of increasing suffering.
The CIH’s analysis shows that although the number of people labelled homeless in England has remained stable over the past year the number of people who are sleeping rough or living in temporary accommodation have increased, alongside the number of repossessions by landlords, reports 24dash.
According to the latest government figures 52,260 people were accepted as homeless during the 2013/14 financial year, which is down 3% from the previous, However, 58,590 households were in temporary accommodation on 31 March 2014, which is 6% higher than the same date the previous year.
The CIH suggests that this could be down to tougher sanctions on claimants of jobseeker’s allowance, which reached a peak of 241,469 cases in the third quarter of 2013 and fell only slightly in the fourth quarter to 239,587.
CIH chief executive Grainia Long said: “The slight fall in statutory homelessness is of course welcome, but that headline figure hides a disturbing picture of suffering for increasing numbers of vulnerable people. It is extremely worrying to see increases in the number of people living in unsuitable temporary accommodation – in many cases outside their local community – and being forced to sleep on the streets.”
Crisis chief executive Leslie Morphy said: “The UK Housing Review is an extremely important series that mirrors our own findings: rough sleeping has risen for the third year running – driven by cuts to benefits and woefully inadequate house building. We are deeply concerned at the growing use of sanctions which are often applied unfairly and inappropriately – and the added pressure they are putting on people already struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Shamefully, it is the poorest and most vulnerable that bear the brunt. We need the government to address the chronic lack of affordable housing, take real steps to improve the private rented sector and urgently review cuts to housing benefit.”
Orbit chief executive Paul Tennant said: “The evidence that we are facing a housing crisis in this country is stronger than ever. We need a long-term housing strategy which recognises housing as a key pillar of this country’s social and economic infrastructure, backed by investment in a range of housing which is affordable, including intermediate products like shared ownership. Let’s not forget, the impact of this crisis is real and on thousands of people’s lives.”
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