New report: 320,000 people in Britain now homeless as numbers rise

By agency reporter
November 25, 2018

New analysis from thehousing and homelessness charity  Shelter reveals that 320,000 people are recorded as homeless, as numbers rise again. This figure lays bare the true scale of Britain’s worsening housing crisis, despite repeated Government pledges to tackle the problem.

In the last year, the overall number increased by 13,000 people. This means one in every 200 people in Britain are homeless and sleeping on the streets or stuck in temporary accommodation, including hostels and B&Bs.

Shelter has launched an urgent appeal calling on the public to support its frontline advisers as they work to help the growing number of people trying to find or keep their home.

In its annual landmark review, the housing charity combined official rough-sleeping, temporary accommodation and social services figures. As these records are not definitive, the true extent of homelessness is likely even greater.

London reported the highest levels of homelessness, with almost 170,000 people or one in 52 without a place to call home. Plenty of areas outside the capital are feeling the impact of the housing crisis too, including Brighton (one in 67), Birmingham (one in 73) and Manchester (one in 135).

Shelter’s report Homelessness in Great Britain: the numbers behind the story, warns this is due to a combination unaffordable rents, frozen housing benefits and a severe shortage of social housing.

Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter said: “It’s unforgivable that 320,000 people in Britain have been swept up by the housing crisis and now have no place to call home. These new figures show that homelessness is having a devastating impact on the lives of people right across the country.

“Due to the perfect storm of spiralling rents, welfare cuts and a total lack of social housing, record numbers of people are sleeping out on the streets or stuck in the cramped confines of a hostel room. We desperately need action now to change tomorrow for the hundreds of thousands whose lives will be blighted by homelessness this winter.

“Shelter’s services have never been more needed. That’s why we’re asking the public to support us this winter so that we can answer as many calls as possible and have trained advisers on hand when people need them most.”

Case study: Telli Afrik, in his 30s, lives in a hostel in Waltham Forest with his wife and two children, aged three and five. The family became homeless because they could no longer afford their privately rented home – despite working. This is the family’s 6th hostel.

“At first, we were fortunate because we went to live with my aunt. But not long after we moved in, she died of a heart attack and the council took the house back. We were made homeless instantly. I sobbed that night, all of us were in tears.

“Our current hostel is so cramped and everyone’s competing for space. My family all sleep in one room and we eat our meals on the floor because we don’t have a table. There are two bathrooms but one isn’t in good shape. It’s hard to bathe. It’s just very tough.

“I had a new job as a supermarket manager, but they terminated my contract because I was always at appointments with different housing teams. That was a direct result of our homelessness. Financially we’ve been brought to nothing. My confidence – nothing. My family is at breaking point.”

* Read the report Homelessness in Great Britain: the numbers behind the story here

* Shelter


Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.