Sharp rise in number of homeless families

By staff writers
23 Mar 2013

Government figures released yesterday (22 March) show a sharp increase in the number of homeless families over the past year.

In 2012, 34,080 households with children were accepted as homeless, an increase of 12 per cent on the previous year. At the end of 2012, 76,790 children were living in temporary accommodation, an annual increase of 11 per cent.

Currently every fifteen minutes another family find themselves homeless.

The figures also show an increase in the number of families living in bed and breakfast accomodation, up 29 per cent since the same time last year. Official guidance to local authorities says bed and breakfast temporary accommodation should be avoided "wherever possible". Lack of privacy, inadequate provision for cooking and washing means it is "not suitable" for families with children or for pregnant women "unless there is no alternative accommodation available and then only for a maximum of six weeks."

Campbell Robb, Chief Excutive of the housing and homelessnss charity Shelter said: "This is yet more proof of how families across the country are being pushed to breaking point.

"The crippling cost of housing, combined with rising prices, flatlining wages and cuts to housing support, is meaning many families are simply no longer able to hold on to the roof over their heads.

"We are extremely worried that people already feeling the squeeze because of the recession and benefit reductions will increasingly struggle as further cuts to the housing safety net come in this April."

Homeless Link, which represents over 400 homelessness organisations across the UK, said a lack affordable private rented accommodation meant homeless people were increasingly stuck in hostels because there was nowhere suitable to move them on to.

The charity's nterim chief executive Matt Harrison said: "We believe a lack of affordable accommodation, rent inflation and housing benefit restrictions are fuelling homelessness and making it more difficult to help people once they become homeless."

[Ekk/4]

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