Rise in number of households classed as 'homeless'


Homelessness in England has risen to its highest level for nearly 10 years.

A total of 15,170 households were classed as homeless in the three months to June 2016 - a jump of 10% on the same period last year.

Around a third of these are in London, according to new figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

The last time a higher level was recorded in England was in the period April-June 2008, when 15,680 households were classed as homeless.

The figures also show that the number of households in temporary accommodation - as measured on June 30 2016 - was 73,120, up 9% on a year earlier.

Nearly three-quarters of these (52,820) were in London.

Households which are homeless or threatened with homelessness may approach their local authority for assistance.

This is granted if they are considered as being unintentionally homeless and in priority need, such as having dependent children.

A total of 29,790 applications for housing assistance were reported by local authorities in England in the three months to June - an increase of 9% on the same period in 2015.

This is the highest number since July-September 2008. Just over half of the applications were accepted.

The most common reason for losing a home was the ending of a tenancy with a private landlord.

This is now causing a greater proportion of households to become homeless than at any point since current records began in 1998 - roughly a third (32%) of all reported cases in the three months to June 2016.

Chief executive of Shelter, Campbell Robb said: "These figures are a heartbreaking reminder of the devastating impact our drastic shortage of affordable homes is having.

"Every day at Shelter we hear from families struggling to keep their heads above water when faced with the double blow of welfare cuts and expensive, unstable private renting, with far too many ultimately losing the battle to stay in their home. On top of this, stripped back budgets and a drought of affordable homes are making it increasingly difficult for overburdened councils to find homeless families anywhere suitable to live.

"But it doesn't have to be this way. Now is the time for the new Government to seize the opportunity to tackle the root cause of this crisis by building homes that people on lower incomes can actually afford to live in. In the meantime, it's essential that councils receive proper funding to deal with the huge volume of people coming to them for help."