The Chartered Institute for Housing has responded to “worrying” homelessness statistics, which show that the number of households accepted by local authorities as statutory homeless is on the rise.
The data reveals that between 1 January and 31 March 2017 local authorities accepted 14,600 households as being statutorily homeless, up 1% on the previous quarter and down 1% on the same quarter last year.
Households in temporary accommodation on 31 March 2017 was 77,240, up 8% on a year earlier, and up 61% on the low of 48,010 on 31 December 2010.
There were 6,590 households living in bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation, an increase of 11% from 5,960 as at 31 March 2016. Of these 3,010 (46%) had dependent or expected children.
Of the 77,240 households in temporary accommodation on 31 March 2017, 21,950 (28%) were in accommodation in another local authority district. This is an increase of 10%, from 19,880 at the same date last year (28% of the total).
Of the 21,950 accommodated in another local authority district, 19,670 were from London authorities (90% of the England total).
CIH policy and practice officer Faye Greaves said: “Today’s figures are extremely worrying but sadly not surprising – homelessness has been steadily rising in all its forms since 2010, partly because of the pressures on the housing market but also some of the welfare changes that have come into force over the past few years.
“We are particularly concerned about the continuing rise in the numbers of households in temporary accommodation, which has soared by a staggering 61 per cent since December 2010.
“The number of households trapped in bed and breakfast accommodation has also risen, and includes thousands of families with children. This type of accommodation is often very poor quality and highly unsuitable, especially for families.”
She added: “There has also been a jump in the number of households placed outside their local authority district, which may be down to the increasing cost of housing, especially in London.
“This issue has been in the spotlight over the past week following the horrendous events at Grenfell Tower.
“The cost of housing can make it difficult for local authorities to find a home for people in the same area, but councils must do everything they can to avoid moving people away from their communities and support networks – in any situation.”
Faye Greaves said the new Homelessness Reduction Act was a good first step towards tackling rising levels of homelessness, but that legislation on its own would not be enough.
She said: “The government must ensure that councils have the resources they need to deliver their new obligations.
“History tells us that we can reduce or even eliminate homelessness but it does require a co-ordinated approach – that means government investment, funding for affordable housing and a concerted effort across the housing and homelessness sectors.”