0:03 AM, 25th August 2023, About a month ago 55
Councils across England are struggling with a surge in demand from households facing homelessness with nearly a quarter of a million households looking for a home, one organisation reveals.
The findings from Crisis are part of its annual ‘state of the nation’ survey and it found that the equivalent of 1 in 100 households are grappling with homelessness.
The trend is pushing thousands into temporary living arrangements like B&Bs and hostels, as local authorities struggle to secure long-term housing solutions.
The research was carried out by Heriot-Watt University which found that the factors driving homelessness levels up include rising living costs and rents.
Matt Downie, the chief executive at Crisis, said “The homelessness system is at breaking point. Temporary accommodation should be a short-term emergency measure yet, as the report shows, it is increasingly becoming the default solution for many councils.
“This is leaving thousands of people living out their lives in a permanent state of limbo, enduring cramped, unsuitable conditions – with a fifth of households in temporary accommodation stuck there for over five years.”
He added: “It comes as no surprise that councils are reporting that they are running out of temporary accommodation.”
The survey found that 85% of councils in England are witnessing a surge in homelessness cases, marking the highest proportion since the survey began.
The combination of a housing benefit freeze, a dwindling supply of social housing and a scarcity of affordable private accommodation is creating a challenge for local authorities.
Research shows that 88% of councils are dealing with more requests for help from tenants being evicted from the private rented sector (PRS).
And 93% of councils are predicting further increases in the coming year.
Mr Downie said: “For too long the emphasis has been on managing homelessness, not building the social homes we need to provide security to low-income households.
“The alarm bells are ringing loud and clear.
“The Westminster government must address the chronic lack of social housing and increase housing benefit, so it covers the true cost of rents.
“We cannot allow this situation to escalate further and consign more lives to the misery of homelessness.”
The report also reveals that rising rents in the PRS and growing competition for a dwindling supply of homes to rent is leading 97% of councils struggling to source suitable private rentals over the past year.
As access to social housing also dwindles, councils are increasingly turning to the PRS to house low-income households, but the challenges are becoming insurmountable.
And as councils exhaust their options for sustainable long-term housing solutions, they are resorting to temporary accommodations at an unprecedented rate.
Crisis says that the number of households living in such arrangements has reached a record high.
However, it appears that this approach is nearing a breaking point, with councils expressing concerns about their diminishing capacity to secure more temporary accommodation.
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