[Diggers350] Recovery? Homelessness up along with house prices in SE UK
esdjaz at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Dec 5 16:42:11 GMT 2013
Roughly the same number of households as the total number for the city of Norwich ! (60,000 in the 2011 census)
On Thursday, 5 December 2013, 13:27, Tony Gosling <tony at cultureshop.org.uk> wrote:
Homelessness rises along with house prices in London and
south-eastNumber of households accepted as homeless rises 13% in
a year in capital, with many unable to afford new leases
* Randeep Ramesh and Harriet Meyer - theguardian.com, Thursday 5 December 2013 12.17 GMT http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/dec/05/homelessness-rises-house-prices-london-south-east
Rising house prices in London and the south-east have seen sharp increases in homelessness, official figures have revealed.
Councils accepted 57,350 households as being homeless and placed them in
temporary accommodation – including hotels and bed and breakfasts – in
September 2013, a figure 8% higher than during the same period in 2012.
More than two-thirds of these homeless households contained children or
The new data revealed that there were now 2,100 homeless families living
in emergency B&Bs, the highest number for a decade.
With the numbers of people in "priority need" falling –
essentially a measure of how many single people applied for help – the
government could point to a fall in numbers "accepted as owed a main
duty under homelessness legislation". This figure dropped 4% to
13,330 between 1 July and 30 September 2013.
However, the role of the capital in these figures reveals the effect of
the buoyant housing market in London. In London, the number of households
accepted as being owed a main homelessness duty was 4,410 – an increase
of 13% from 3,900 during the same quarter a year earlier. The city now
accounts for 33% of the England total.
Charities point out that with rents rising in the capital, the effect is
that many cannot afford to renew leases on homes. These households end up
turning to the local authority for help – which has no council or social
housing available and is forced to place people in hotels as a
The figures show that in London, the main reason for the loss of a last
settled home was the ending of an assured shorthold tenancy at 1,440 – a
third of the capital's acceptances.
Leslie Morphy, chief executive officer at the homelessness charity
Crisis, said: "With a third of all new cases of homelessness coming
from London, this shows the dark side of the capital's housing boom.
Soaring prices and increased demand combined with cuts to housing benefit
are pushing people into homelessness.
"They are falling out of the private rented sector at an
accelerating rate and, if they are lucky, joining the growing numbers in
temporary accommodation, whilst growing numbers of others deemed 'not a
priority' are left to fend for themselves.
"We need the government to address the chronic lack of affordable
housing, to take real steps to improve the private rented sector and to
urgently consider the impact its housing benefit cuts are having,
particularly in the capital."
Shelter said the statistics meant nearly 85,000 children in Britain faced
waking up homeless on Christmas morning. It warned that as the rising
cost of living and cuts to the housing safety net continued to take their
toll, many more parents were likely to find themselves facing an ongoing
struggle to keep a roof over their children's heads.
Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive, said: "These new figures
are even worse than we expected.
"It is an absolute disgrace that thousands of children in Britain
face waking up homeless this Christmas morning. We'll be there to help
make sure families get the support they need to get back on their feet,
but we need to see the government rebuild our shredded safety net so it's
there to catch families who fall on hard times."
Already taking more than 470 calls a day to its helpline, Shelter is now
bracing itself for an increase in demand for its advice services this
Christmas, particularly given the 15% rise in the number of calls
received during December last year.
Jo-ann, a GP receptionist from Hillingdon, and her seven-year-old son
were made homeless after they were evicted by their landlord and unable
to find anywhere else to live. They are now living in a B&B in
Hounslow and facing the prospect of being homeless this
Jo-ann said: "It's so hard to give him a balanced diet as it's
impossible to make proper meals here, let alone a Christmas dinner. He's
getting really pale and is so tired all the time. He gets so scared but
it's difficult when I'm scared myself. This is no place for a child to
live. We're desperately hoping we won't be here for
Many others in the housing sector say the real concern lies ahead – with
a "perfect storm of cuts, inflation and shortage of supply" in
the next two years.
Howard Sinclair, chief executive of the charity Broadway Homelessness and
Support, said: "There is a perfect storm coming over the next 18
months. Welfare reforms, reductions in homelessness services and the
increased cost of living will inevitably lead to more pressures on
individuals and families, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable in
society. These pressures are all too likely to lead to tenancy breakdown,
homelessness and for some, rough sleeping.
"Problems will be compounded as more people get into debt, and this
is especially difficult in London and the south-east due to the serious
lack of properties available for people to live in. Inevitably, and
sadly, the numbers of homeless people will go up and we are already
Kevin Williamson, head of policy for the National Housing Federation,
said: "Homelessness is the bleakest face of our housing crisis and
this rise is a real concern. To rid us of this problem we urgently need
to build more homes that people can afford – particularly for low-income
families who are forever struggling with rising housing costs.
"Until we have the right homes in the right places at the right
prices we will still need emergency accommodation to house those that
find themselves in a sudden and desperate need of shelter. Temporary
accommodation must be protected so that people made homeless can live in
secure and affordable homes until they get themselves back on their
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