Urgent Action Needed to Keep More People in their Homes

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Homeless Link responds to Government statistics showing a nine per cent increase in the number of homeless households in England.

Becoming homeless shouldn’t be inevitable if you lose your job, can’t afford your rent or fall into difficulty.

According to figures released today, 12,860 individuals and families were accepted by councils as homeless from April - June 2012, an 8.8 per cent increase on the same period in 2011.

The number of people finding themselves without a roof because they have had to leave privately rented accommodation is also the highest for 14 years.

Responding to the statistics, Rick Henderson Chief Executive of Homeless Link, the umbrella body for homeless charities said:

"The recession and the high cost of living continues to fuel homelessness. We’re also concerned that welfare reform could be adding to the numbers, with landlords less willing to rent to those on housing benefit.

“Becoming homeless shouldn’t be inevitable if you lose your job, can’t afford your rent or fall into difficulty. We need urgent action to keep more people in their homes.

“The Government recently called on every council to provide a ‘gold standard’ when it comes to homelessness advice, help and support. This is a standard that should apply to everyone – including the many single adults who councils do not have a duty to house.

“We need local government to rise to this challenge, to prevent people finding themselves with nowhere to live and the damage this causes to individuals and society.

“However national government also needs to review the impact that welfare reform could be having.”

According to analysis by Homeless Link between April and June 2012:

  •     The number of households accepted as homeless by councils in England has increased by 8.8% (compared to the same period in 2011). This is the highest rate of acceptances since 2008.
  •     21% of people accepted as homeless, became homeless because of an end to their short hold tenancy; this is the highest proportion recorded since 1998
  •     26,800 applications for help were made, 52% of which were turned down
  •     The majority of those accepted as homeless were ‘households with dependent children’ (64% of all cases).

The statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government are available from http://www.communities.gov.uk.

Homeless Link is the national charity representing over 500 organisations working directly with homeless people in England, and works with local and national government. As the national hub for information and debate on homelessness, Homeless Link seeks improve services and to advocate policy change that will end homelessness in England.

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