300,000 households across England could be homeless next year unless the government urgently changes course

Credit: Crisis/Heriot-Watt University

More than 300,000 people and families across the UK could be forced to become homeless next year if there is no change in current UK government policy, and thousands suffer from the worst forms of homelessness, including sleeping on the streets, couch surfing and living in temporary accommodation such as hostels. and hostels.

Homelessness Monitor: New research from homelessness charity Crisis, led by Heriot-Watt University in Great Britain, shows that the forecast is up 32% from 227,000 in 2020.

The forecast is based on current government policies, which remain unchanged, such as the UK Government freezing housing assistance based on old 2018-19 rent levels and unable to keep up with rising rent costs and wider cost of living pressures. .

The research shows how the cost of living crisis, rising rents and the withdrawal of emergency measures in place during the pandemic will force thousands of more households into unsafe situations. An estimated more than half of 300,000 people and families will be couchsurfing, a largely hidden but pervasive form of homelessness.

The Homelessness Monitor highlights the distinct differences between the three countries. England has much higher rates of the worst forms of homelessness compared to Scotland and Wales, as well as fewer social rental homes per population. The researchers also looked at the amount of money taxpayers spent on different measures to combat homelessness.

If current policy remains unchanged, the researchers predict that the number of households in temporary accommodation in England will nearly double over the next 20 years, reaching seven households per 1,000 by 2041, while in Scotland and Wales it will remain relatively stable.

The Scottish Government’s plan to end homelessness – a first in the UK – has sparked a movement to quickly relocate people experiencing homelessness to safe, established accommodation.

The Welsh Government has pledged to “fundamentally reform” homelessness services and build 20,000 new social housing units. It has also set up an ambitious plan of action to improve progress made during the pandemic, where rough sleep has decreased significantly in Wales, and finally to end all forms of homelessness in Wales within five years.

Meanwhile, the Westminster government has a narrower focus. It has committed to ending rough sleep by the end of the current parliament, but has no broader strategy to address other forms of homelessness.

Matt Downie, Chief Executive Officer of Crisis, said: “We are heading towards a catastrophic situation where hundreds of thousands of families and individuals in extreme financial distress have to be forced out of their homes and enter a system that is already at breaking point.

“Through our services, we see the tremendous pressure people are put under by rocket costs that deplete their limited budgets of basic needs like food and heating. Although government action to increase aid and the aid cap will put more money in people’s pockets in line with inflation. A recession and suffering. Not investing in housing assistance during the donor cost of living crisis is frankly irresponsible and should be reversed.

“In the long run, the Government of Westminster must put in place a clear plan to provide truly affordable homes to combat deplorable famine and limit over-reliance on unsuitable temporary accommodation. These steps will give people stronger protection against sudden financial pressures and a Homelessness can be resolved. And we know what policy changes are needed to bring these numbers down – what is needed is the political will to push this agenda forward.”

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, from Heriot-Watt University, said: “The Homelessness Monitor highlights how different government policies, the wider housing market, and access to social housing have a major impact on people experiencing homelessness. Our comparative analysis of the worst forms of homelessness in Great Britain around the world. highlights the stark differences between England, Scotland and Wales that the statutory homelessness statistics overlook.

“The different approaches of the three governments have had very different outcomes for people in the three countries, and the UK has lagged behind. Our analysis shows that it is important to focus not only on how much money is spent fighting homelessness, but also on what. The Welsh and Scottish governments are focusing relatively more on support and prevention.

Provided by Heriot-Watt University

Quotation: 300,000 households across England could be homeless next year unless the government urgently changes course (2022, 6 December). urgently.html

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