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Homelessness up by 17%

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The number of homeless people in the UK has risen by 17% in a year, according to the latest figures official figures.

The statistics, published by the Department for Communities & Local Government, show that between April and June this year a total of 11,820 applicants were accepted by local authorities as being in need of “homeless help” and therefore eligible to go on to a council house waiting list - a 17% spike over the same period in 2010.

The figure rose 3% between the first and second quarters of this year after seasonal adjustment.

The figures also showed that the number of households placed in bed and breakfast accommodation by councils rose while the number in homes leased from private landlords by councils and housing associations for use as temporary accommodation fell.

The spike in homelessness came as research published by homeless charity Crisis warned that the situation was set to get worse.

The Homelessness Monitor report, commissioned by Crisis and undertaken by Heriot-Watt University and the University of York, warned thatafter years of stable or falling homelessness figures, 2010 marked the turning point when homelessness in all its forms began to rise again.

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of homelessness charity Crisis, said: “These official figures prove once again we now face a sustained increase in homelessness but, worryingly, this research predicts the worst is yet to come. The coalition government is dismantling the buffers against poverty and unemployment that have traditionally kept a roof over vulnerable households’ heads.

“Homelessness is rising and we fear cuts to housing benefit and housing budgets, alongside reforms in the Welfare Reform and Localism Bills will cause it to increase yet further.”

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said that despite rise in the figures, homelessness was still at an “historic” low level.

He said: “Whilst homelessness remains at a historic low, today’s figures underline how the effects of the worst recession for a generation continue to deliver difficult times for households up and down the country.

“But anyone facing financial difficulty or the prospect of losing their own home is not alone. There is help available and everything will be done to help people avoid homelessness.”

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