11:24 AM, 11th January 2023, About A year ago 14
The homeless charity Shelter says there were ‘at least’ 271,000 people who were homeless on any given night last year because of rising living costs and private rents.
The charity is warning that thousands of people are at risk of losing their homes this year too.
The figures refer to England’s homeless and Shelter says it is bracing for a spike in homeless numbers in 2023.
The charity says that nearly half of the homeless figure includes 123,000 children.
Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, 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.”
She added: “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.”
The charity’s figures highlight that 2,400 people are sleeping rough, 15,000 people are living in supported accommodation and hostels, while nearly 250,000 people, many of whom are families, are currently living in temporary accommodation.
London has the highest rate of homelessness, with one in 58 people without a home, while people in the North East are least likely to be homeless with a rate of one in 2,118 people.
Shelter says it has put together the figures using freedom of information requests, Government statistics and data from the Homeless Link charity.
The figures only cover those living in hostels, temporary accommodation or on the street and do not include those who are ‘unofficial’ or ‘hidden’ homeless such as those who are living in overcrowded homes or sofa surfing.
England’s total figure of homeless people is down by 1% from 2021’s figure when 274,000 people were estimated to be homeless.
There has also been a 2% drop in the number of those living in temporary accommodation after numbers peaked in 2020 and the government rolled out its ‘Everyone In’ scheme during the pandemic lockdown.
However, despite the dip, the use of temporary accommodation over the last decade has rocketed by an ‘alarming’ 74%, Shelter says.
The charity highlights that this figure is down to a chronic shortage of social homes.
And, according to Government figures, around 68% of families with children who are living in temporary accommodation have been doing so for at least a year.
A survey carried out by Shelter highlights that 63% of participants say that their living situation has led to a negative impact on their mental health.
And 51% said there had been a negative effect on their physical health, with 39% of respondents saying that it’s harder to access GP and healthcare appointments while living in temporary accommodation.
Paula Barker, Labour’s shadow homelessness and rough sleeping minister said the figures are ‘shameful’.
In response, a government spokesperson said that £366 million had been handed to councils to provide temporary housing, pay deposits and help prevent evictions.