Crisis calls for a housing policy 'revolution' as homelessness continues to rise
14 June 2012
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.
Notes to Editors
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Despite figures released by DCLG, the true national scale of homelessness is still unclear. The hidden homeless - people sofa surfing, squatting or living in substandard overcrowded accommodation - are not counted in either set of statistics, but number in the tens of thousands.
1The Homelessness Monitor: Tracking the Impacts of Policy and Economic Change in England, commissioned by Crisis and undertaken by Heriot-Watt University and the University of York, warns that after years of stable or falling levels of homelessness, 2010 marked the turning point when homelessness in all its forms started to rise again.
Priority need & No One Turned Away: Under existing homelessness legislation single people are not considered a priority for housing. They should get meaningful advice and assistance but research shows that too often this doesn't happen. When councils fail to help, vulnerable people can be left with nowhere to go but the streets and quickly spiral deeper into homelessness. Crisis has launched a campaign, No One Turned Away, calling for a change in the law to protect everyone in need from sleeping rough.
Crisis is the national charity for single homeless people. We are dedicated to ending homelessness by delivering life-changing services and campaigning for change. Our innovative education, employment, housing and well-being services address individual needs and help people to transform their lives. We are determined campaigners, working to prevent people from becoming homeless and advocating solutions informed by research and our direct experience. We have ambitious plans for the future and are committed to help more people in more places across the UK. We know we won't end homelessness overnight or on our own. But we take a lead, collaborate with others and, together, make change happen.