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271,000 people homeless on any given night in England, according to Shelter

3 weeks ago

By The Guide Liverpool

271,000 people homeless on any given night in England, according to Shelter

Shelter said that ‘with private rents and living costs continuing to soar’, thousands of people were at risk of losing their homes in 2023.

At least 271,000 people were homeless in England on any given night last year, according to research from a charity “bracing” for a spike in homelessness in 2023.

This is equivalent to one in 208 people and almost half (45% or 123,000) of these were children, Shelter estimates.

Of the total, around 2,400 people were sleeping rough, around 15,000 people were in hostels or supported accommodation and nearly 250,000 – mainly families – were living in temporary accommodation.

London had the highest rate – with around one in 58 people homeless – while people were least likely to be homeless in the North East, which had a rate of one in 2,118 people.

The estimates have been reached using Government statistics, Freedom of Information requests and data from the membership charity Homeless Link.

They cover people in temporary accommodation, hostels and those on the streets. They do not include the various forms of hidden or unofficial homelessness, such as sofa surfing or overcrowded homes.

Consequently, they are likely to underestimate the true scale of homelessness in the country, Shelter said.

The total is slightly down (1%) from the previous year, when 274,000 were estimated to be homeless on any given night in 2021.

This is driven by a 2% fall in the number of people living in temporary accommodation, after a peak in early 2020, when the Government rolled out the Everyone In scheme during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the slight annual dip, over the last decade, use of temporary accommodation has risen by an “alarming” 74%, Shelter said.

The charity said this was down to a “chronic shortage” of social homes.

According to Government figures as of March 2022, more than two-thirds (68%) of families with children in temporary accommodation have been living there for longer than a year.

Shelter also carried out a survey of 1,112 households in temporary accommodation, with 63% of respondents saying their living situation had had a negative impact on their mental health.

Half (51%) said this had negatively affected their physical health, according to the survey, carried out between May and August last year.

And 39% said living in temporary accommodation had made it harder to access GP and other healthcare appointments.
Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said: “The new year should be a time of hope, but this isn’t the case for the 271,000 homeless people who are facing a truly bleak 2023.

“A cold doorway or a grotty hostel room is not a home, but this is reality for too many people today.

“Our frontline advisers are working tirelessly to help people who are desperate to escape homelessness – from the parents doing all they can to provide some shred of a normal family life while stuck in an emergency B&B, to the person terrified of another night sleeping rough.

“With private rents and living costs continuing to soar, thousands of people are not just facing a winter of worry, they are at risk of losing the roof over their head.

“At Shelter, we are bracing ourselves for a sharp rise in homelessness in 2023. More than ever, we will be relying on the public’s generosity to help us support and campaign for all those fighting for a safe home.”

For more information or to donate to Shelter’s Winter Appeal, visit shelter.org.uk/donate.

Labour MP Paula Barker, shadow homelessness and rough sleeping minister, said the figures were “shameful”.

“The Conservatives promised to prevent homelessness and end rough sleeping by the end of next year, but they are completely and utterly failing, with devastating consequences for thousands of families and children,” she said.

“This tragic trend will only continue unless the Government gets an urgent grip on this crisis.”

A Government spokeswoman said: “Councils have a duty to ensure no family is left without a roof over their heads. That is why we’ve given them £366 million this year to help prevent evictions, support to pay deposits and provide temporary housing.

“Temporary accommodation is always a last resort. Over half a million households have been prevented from becoming homeless since 2018 through the Homelessness Reduction Act.

“We are also providing significant support to help people through these tough times by holding down energy bills and delivering up to £1,350 in direct cash payments to millions of vulnerable households.”

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