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A leading charity has blamed housing benefit cuts for ‘soaring’ levels of homelessness In England.

New figures released today by the Department for Communities and Local Government show that 13,650 households in England were accepted as being statutory homeless between 1 October and 31 December 2014, an increase of 6% on the same period the previous year.

28,460 homelessness applications were made to local authorities between 1 October and 31 December 2014, of which 48% were accepted.

Of the remainder, 25% were found not be homeless, 18% were found to be homeless but not in ‘priority need’ and 9% were found to be intentionally homeless and in priority need.

There were a total of 53,250 households in England accepted as being statutory homeless in the calendar year 2014, up less than 1% from 53,150 in 2013.

The figures also show an increase in households placed in temporary accommodation, whilst awaiting a more permanent home. At the end 2014 there were 61,970 households in temporary accommodation, a sharp increase of 9% in only a year.

Homelessness in London accounts for 34% of the England total and is rising more quickly than other parts of the country. There was an increase of 8% from 4,350 in the final quarter of 2014, while homelessness acceptances in the rest of England increased by 5% over the same period.

39% of all homeless acceptances in London between 1 October and 31 December 2014 were due to the ending of shorthold tenancies, up 20% on the same period in the previous year.

Matt Downie, Director of Policy and External Affairs at Crisis said:

“Today’s figures show a troubling 6% rise in homelessness compared to the same time last year, with soaring numbers of people becoming homeless following the loss of a privately rented home.

“We know from our research that housing benefit cuts are one of the main drivers of this trend.

“Rising numbers of people are struggling to pay their rent in an increasingly insecure private rented sector, with more than half of councils fearing worse is yet to come in the next two years.

“This must be a wake-up call for all political leaders: the housing crisis will not solve itself.

“We desperately need more affordable homes as well as political action to fix our broken private rented sector.

“At the same time, we need a safety net that genuinely reflects the reality of renting.”