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Homelessness expected to rise by more than a quarter by 2020

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The number of homeless households in temporary accommodation is expected to rise by more than a quarter (28%) by 2020, according to new research.

The annual Homelessness Monitor, which is carried out by Heriot-Watt University and jointly funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Crisis, reports today that 78,000 homeless households are currently placed in temporary accommodation with expectations that this number will rise to 100,000 households in two years.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “It’s truly terrible that, across England, councils are finding it increasingly difficult to find homeless people somewhere to live. This means ever more people are ending up trapped in B&Bs and hostels, with no stability and often in cramped conditions.   

“Today’s report makes it clear that, unless we take action as a society, this problem will only keep getting worse. Homelessness is not inevitable and our research has shown how it can become a thing of the past.

Of the local authorities surveyed for the report, 70% reported difficulties in finding social housing for homeless people, while 89% reported the same for private rented accomodation.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “A failure by successive governments to build enough genuinely affordable homes has contributed to this situation. The government has recognised the problem with its Homelessness Reduction Act, and the forthcoming social housing green paper is another opportunity to commit to building the low-cost rented homes we need to release families from the grip of poverty.”

The Homelessness Reduction Act came into effect on 1 April and creates a statutory requirement for councils to help secure accommodation for households who are homeless or about to become homeless.

Martin Tett (Con), housing spokesman for the Local Government Association, said it was “essential” that the new duties created by the Homelessness Reduction Act were properly funded by central government.

Cllr Tett said: “Local authorities are currently housing more than 77,000 homeless families with in excess of 120,000 homeless children in temporary accommodation. Whilst they are doing all they can to help families facing homelessness it’s essential that the new Homelessness Reduction Act duties on councils are fully funded.”

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