Warning on homelessness after eviction ban ends

Campaigners are warning that more people face the “brutality” of homelessness after saying a household became homeless every three minutes under the last lockdown.

Shelter said the Covid-related ban on evictions could not stop thousands of families becoming homeless in the first few months of the year.

The ban has been lifting, leading to fears of a big increase in homelessness, say campaigners.

Official figures for the first quarter of the year in England showed that 68,250 households were initially assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness, down 10.7% from January to March 2020.

Under the Government’s Everyone In campaign, local authorities were asked to provide emergency accommodation to rough sleepers, people living in shelters with shared sleeping arrangements, and those at risk of rough sleeping.

A homeless man sleeping in a doorway (Victoria Jones/PA)
A homeless man sleeping in a doorway (Victoria Jones/PA)

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It is a scary sign of the times that even the eviction ban couldn’t stop thousands of families becoming homeless in early 2021.

“Now the ban has lifted far more people could be faced with the brutal reality of homelessness.

“The bottom line is that there aren’t enough social homes, which has created a massive bottleneck, trapping huge numbers of people in crummy temporary accommodation.

“How can anyone call a rat-infested room no bigger than a prison cell, home?

“If the country is to stand a chance of recovering from the pandemic, the Government must urgently invest in a new generation of quality social housing.

“Last year we built fewer than 7,000 new social homes.

“We can and must do better.”