Homelessness Soars to Unprecedented Levels in England

A recent government report revealed the stark reality of England’s housing crisis. A surge in homelessness has prompted urgent calls for comprehensive solutions despite sustained policy shortcomings. Here’s the full story.

Cost of Living Crisis

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As the UK is still in the grip of a cost of living crisis, with anaemic wage growth and inflation still above the 2% target set by the Bank of England, living standards have been plummeting, with citizens and households struggling to afford record rents and everyday necessities. 

Forgotten Humanity

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The scale of the problem can often be underestimated or ignored until you enter a busy city at night and see a great forgotten mass of humanity sleeping on the streets. 

Staggering Surge

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Recent government figures have revealed a staggering surge in homelessness in the UK, the 6th most prosperous country in the world. 

Unrelentingly Bleak

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The numbers are unrelentingly bleak. In the final quarter of last year, the number of households grappling with homelessness soared by 16%. 

Housing Crisis

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This figure has been cited by charities and activist groups as revealing the magnitude of the housing crisis gripping the nation. 

45,000 Households

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According to official government statistics, nearly 45,000 households in England were identified as homeless in the three months leading up to December, an increase of over 6,000 since the previous year. 

“Housing Emergency”

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The surge underlies another disturbing reality, with the number of people and families forced into temporary accommodation hitting record levels in what opposition figures are calling a “housing emergency.”

“Tory Housing Emergency”

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Shadow Minister for Homelessness Mike Amesbury told the Guardian, “These stats reveal a growing Tory housing emergency being felt by families in every part of the country. Over the past 14 years, the Tories have taken a wrecking ball to the foundation of a secure home, leaving Britain facing a homelessness epidemic.”

Homeless Kids

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He continued, “Under this government’s watch, kids are growing up in temporary accommodation, coming home from school to do their homework on the bathroom floor of a hotel room and eating dinner perched on their bed.”

“Families Struggling”

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Polly Neate, the chief executive of Shelter, stated, “Decades of failure to build enough genuinely affordable social homes has left families struggling to cobble together extortionate sums every month to keep a roof over their heads.”

“Thrown Into Homelessness”

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She continued, “Those who can’t afford private rents are being thrown into homelessness and then left for months and even years in damaging temporary accommodation because there is nowhere else.”

£1.2 Billion

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In response to the escalating crisis, the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has pledged financial support to local councils amounting to £1.2 billion. 

“Safe Place to Call Home”

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A department spokesperson stated, “We want everyone to have a safe place to call home, which is why we’re giving councils £1.2bn so that they can provide financial support to those who need it, helping them to find a new home and move out of temporary accommodation.”

“Additional £800”

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They continued, “At the same time, we’ve boosted the local housing allowance, giving the 1.6 million private renters in receipt of housing benefit or universal credit an additional £800 to help towards rental costs.”

Falling Short

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Despite promises to address housing shortages, the government’s efforts have fallen far short of expectations. 

Lack of Houses

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The ambitious target of constructing 300,000 additional homes annually by the mid-2020s remains unlikely, with only 234,400 new homes added to England’s housing stock last year. 

Falling through the Cracks

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Experts attribute this shortfall to the abandonment of mandatory population-based targets for local authorities, leading to a lack of cohesive planning, which allows many to fall through the cracks.

Concerning Trend

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The figures also shed light on the concerning trend of no-fault evictions, with a record total of 25,910 individuals facing homelessness in 2023. 

No Fault Evictions

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Despite pledges to eradicate no-fault evictions, the government has postponed the implementation of a ban indefinitely, citing concerns about the court system’s readiness to handle potential cases.

“More Families Evicted”

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Tom Darling, the campaign manager at the Renters’ Reform Coalition, stated, “Every week sees more families evicted and growing pressure on the budgets of councils struggling to meet the rising cost of homelessness support. And yet observing this steadily spiralling crisis, it is maddening to watch the government’s approach to the Renters (Reform) bill, one of the key levers at its disposal to tackle this crisis.”

Human Cost

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As England grapples with the terrible human cost of the housing crisis, it is becoming more apparent than ever that urgent action is needed to help the thousands of citizens up and down the country who are experiencing homelessness. 

Languishing in Uncertainty

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However, with government attention shifting to the upcoming election, it is unlikely that consideration for people experiencing homelessness, who by definition will find it difficult to vote, are likely to be at the top of any ministerial agenda, leaving thousands to languish in uncertainty.

The post Homelessness Soars to Unprecedented Levels in England first appeared on Swift Feed.

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