Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Home Charities Britain's homelessness crisis is a national shame that must not be ignored

Britain’s homelessness crisis is a national shame that must not be ignored

Shocking figures released by the housing charity Shelter reveal that 320,000 people in Britain are homeless and sleeping on the streets or stuck in temporary accommodation, including hostels and B&B’s.

The number has increased by 13,000 over the last year alone, and now means that 1 in every 200 people in Britain don’t have a place to call home.

According to Shelter’s analysis of homeless data, London has the highest levels of homelessness, with almost 170,000 people or one in 52 recognised as being homeless.

Other towns and cities feeling the impact of the housing crisis include Brighton, where 1 in 67 local people are homeless, Birmingham (1 in 73) and Manchester (1 in 135).

Shelter’s analysis includes official rough-sleeping data, the numbers of people known to be living in temporary accommodation, and information provided by social services.

Photo credit: Pixel whippersnapper edwewwewqew via photopin (license)

However, the charity warns the true extent of Britain’s homelessness crisis is likely to be much worse, as official records are not definitive and may exclude certain groups of homeless people.

Shelter’s report ‘Homelessness in Great Britain: the numbers behind the story’ says rising homelessness is due to a combination unaffordable rents, frozen housing benefits and a severe shortage of social housing.

Telli Afrik, who is in his 30’s, is living in a hostel in Waltham Forest with his wife and two children, aged 3 and 5, after being made homeless because they could not afford housing costs.

“At first, we were fortunate because we went to live with my aunt”, he told Shelter. “But not long after we moved in, she died of a heart attack and the council took the house back.

“We were made homeless instantly. I sobbed that night, all of us were in tears.

“Our current hostel is so cramped and everyone’s competing for space. My family all sleep in one room and we eat our meals on the floor because we don’t have a table. There are two bathrooms but one isn’t in good shape. It’s hard to bathe. It’s just very tough.

“I had a new job as a supermarket manager, but they terminated my contract because I was always at appointments with different housing teams. That was a direct result of our homelessness.

“Financially we’ve been brought to nothing. My confidence – nothing. My family is at breaking point.”

Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter said: “It’s unforgivable that 320,000 people in Britain have been swept up by the housing crisis and now have no place to call home. These new figures show that homelessness is having a devastating impact on the lives of people right across the country.

“Due to the perfect storm of spiralling rents, welfare cuts and a total lack of social housing, record numbers of people are sleeping out on the streets or stuck in the cramped confines of a hostel room.

“We desperately need action now to change tomorrow for the hundreds of thousands whose lives will be blighted by homelessness this winter.

“Shelter’s services have never been more needed. That’s why we’re asking the public to support us this winter so that we can answer as many calls as possible and have trained advisers on hand when people need them most.”

Shelter has launched an urgent appeal calling on the public to support its frontline advisers as they work to help the growing number of homeless people.

To support Shelter’s urgent appeal please visit or text SHELTER to 70020 to donate £3.

Join Us On Social Media


Trending Now

New Tory housing minister says rough sleepers are ‘too comfortable’ on the streets

Kit Malthouse once argued that it was "absolutely right" to make life "uncomfortable" for homeless people.

A homeless person dies every 19 hours in austerity Britain

Services are failing to protect homelessness people, say campaigners.

UK pensioners ‘suffering the worst poverty rate in western Europe’

Tories warned against further rises to the state pension age.

DWP scraps repeat benefit assessments for 290k disabled pensioners

Move follows pressure from charities, campaigners, and others.

62 year-old woman forced to give up her home after missing a benefits meeting

She says an "unlawful" Universal Credit benefit sanction means she can no longer afford the rent.

The Latest

Sturgeon calls for ‘real and determined action’ on child poverty

Latest figures show that 30% of children across the UK are living in poverty.

SNP outline plan to ban unpaid trial shifts

Party to ramp up pressure on the UK government to ban "exploitative" unpaid trial shifts.

Benefit claimants to be given more help with funeral costs

Financial support for funeral costs will rise by 43% to £1000 from spring 2020.

Next government must commit to ending fuel poverty, say campaigners

More than 15,000 winter deaths in 2017/18 were caused by people living in cold homes.

Follow Us


More Articles Like This