Homelessness figures 'nothing short of a tragedy' says charity


A charity has described homelessness figures as "nothing short of a tragedy" after an official report showed the numbers in England have increased.

The number of households in temporary accommodation has surged by 65% since 2010.

Local authorities accepted 15,290 households as being statutorily homeless between July 1 and September 30, up 6% from the previous quarter and up 2% from the same quarter of last year, Government figures show.

Homeless households in England (July-September)
(PA Graphics)

Across England, on September 30, the number of households in temporary accommodation was 79,190, up 6% from the same date last year - and a 65% increase from a low point of 48,010 on December 31 2010.

Of those 79,190 households, 61,090 included dependent children and/or a pregnant woman, within which there were 121,360 children or expected children.

Some 132 households with children were former residents of Grenfell Tower or Grenfell Walk, within which there were 261 children, the report said.

A memorial service to honour those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire was being held on Thursday, six months on from the incident.

Today marks six months since the #GrenfellTower tragedy, which has deeply affected us all. Marked by a service at St Paul's Cathedral, there's also a silent walk through Notting Hill this evening to pay tribute to victims, and show support to survivors https://t.co/WVmujmC7Zn

-- Shelter (@Shelter) December 14, 2017

Jon Sparkes, chief executive at Crisis, said: "Knowing that nearly 80,000 households will find themselves homeless and living in temporary accommodation this Christmas is nothing short of a tragedy.

"Temporary accommodation is often cramped, unsuitable, and sometimes even dangerous, and no place for anyone to call home."

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) report said that between July and September, 214 homeless acceptances were reported by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for the residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk.

It said acceptances were not reported in the second quarter of 2017 because the household level information still needed to be collected and processed. There were a further 181 households living in temporary accommodation from areas surrounding the Tower and Walk.

Of the total 395 affected households, 300 were living in hotels, 75 households were in self-contained and serviced apartments, nine were living with friends and family under their own temporary arrangements and 11 had moved into permanent settled accommodation, the report said.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: "Six months on from the horror of Grenfell and there is still much to be done to aid the survivors and to ensure that nothing like it can ever happen again.

"We have seen first-hand the trauma survivors face and the scale of the challenge in rehousing them."

Across England, local authorities also took action to prevent and relieve homelessness for 52,190 households between July and September 2017, down 1% on 52,880 in the same quarter of 2016.

Cllr Martin Tett, the Local Government Association's housing spokesman, said: "On average over the last three years, councils are having to house the equivalent of an extra secondary school's worth of homeless children in temporary accommodation every month.

"We must tackle our shortage of affordable homes by building more of them if we're to truly get to grips with our national housing shortage.

"While the Government's indication that it will explore ways to enable councils to build more homes is encouraging, these new homes can't appear overnight, and the demand is urgent."