The report released today (13th Dec) by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government reveal that between 3rd April and 30th June 2018, 58,660 households were owed a new statutory homeless duty.
Statistics in the report further reveal that on 30th June, the number of households in temporary accommodation was 82,310, up 71% on the low of 48,010 on 31st December 2010.
That figure includes almost 7,000 households – including more than 2,500 families with children – being forced to live in bed and breakfast-type accommodation.
The Homeless Reduction Act, which came into force in April, introduced a number of changes, including a strengthened duty to provide advisory services and an extension to the period in which an applicant is considered ‘threatened with homelessness’, from 28 to 56 days.
Commenting on these changes, Chartered Institute of Housing chief executive, Terrie Alafat CBE, said: “It is still very early days for the Homelessness Reduction Act, but it does appear to be having an impact, with local authorities providing help for more people through their new duties.
“It’s crucial that the government makes sure that councils have enough resources to deliver appropriate assistance effectively.
“For many people on lower incomes, the only truly affordable option is social rent – but our research shows we have lost more than 150,000 of these kinds of homes between 2012 and 2017.
“Ultimately, if we really want to tackle this issue we need to start building many more of the right homes, in the right places, at the right prices.”
Further addressing the figures, Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse has accused the Conservative Government of a “shameful dereliction of duty”, as office figures show the number of children in temporary accommodation reached an 11-year high.
“It is an absolute disgrace that hundreds of thousands of children are trapped in temporary accommodation.
“The Conservative Government’s failure to look after these vulnerable families is a shameful dereliction of duty.
“Liberal Democrats would build 100,000 new social homes every year, ensure that housing benefits are sufficient for covering rent and bring the thousands of vacant properties across the country into use,” she adds.
Cllr Martin Tett, Housing spokesman at the Local Government Association, said: “Many councils are struggling to cope with rising homelessness and to find suitable accommodation for those in need.
“The increasing use of temporary accommodation is not only financially unsustainable for councils but it is hugely disruptive for those families placed in such accommodation.
“Every instance of homelessness is an individual tragedy and councils are determined to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place and support families affected.
“Councils need to keep 100% of the receipts of any homes they sell to replace them and reinvest in building more of the genuinely affordable homes they desperately need and the ability to adapt welfare reforms to prevent people from losing their home where possible.”