Crisis calls for a housing policy ‘revolution’ as homelessness rises
On the day statistics reveal homelessness rising yet higher, homelessness charity Crisis calls for a housing policy 'revolution' to stem the rising tide of homelessness across the country.
It was revealed today that 50,290 households were accepted as homeless and met the strict criteria to be housed by their local council over the 2011/12 financial year - a 14% increase on 2010/11 and 26% rise since 2009/10, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
The figures are released on the heels of disappointing house building statistics from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which reveal there were just 15,698 affordable housing starts in 2011-12, down from 49,363 in 2010-11. It is estimated that 230,000 new houses are needed a year to keep up with demand.
Duncan Shrubsole, director of policy at Crisis, said: "This further rise in homelessness is yet another sign of the housing crisis we face. We are building just a tiny fraction of the new homes we need while government cuts to housing benefit are hitting households across the country and making it harder to re-house those who are already homeless. We need real action now - we need a housing policy revolution."
Crisis is calling for:
- a dramatic increase in house building
- Government to rethink cuts to housing benefit
- a change in the law to ensure that all homeless people get the help they need from their local council - not just those who meet the strict Priority Need criteria
Today's figures also show a 40% rise in the number of households made homeless as a result of their private tenancy ending and a 15% rise in those homeless due to rent arrears. Of those accepted as homeless there has been a 44% increase in those housed in Bed and Breakfast accommodation compared to last year.