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Surge in Homelessness in England by 6.8%

A recent release of government statistics has brought to light a troubling 6.8% increase in homelessness across England in the last year, leading to a substantial number of individuals and families being compelled into temporary housing. The data, published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), points to a 10.5% uptick in overall expenditure on homelessness since the fiscal year 2021/22, placing additional strain on local councils already grappling with heightened costs.

Between April 2022 and March of the current year, a staggering 298,430 households in England encountered homelessness or were at risk of it, including 104,460 families with children. The statistics also shed light on the fact that the number of households lodging in temporary accommodations reached an all-time high of 104,510.

Of particular concern is the 27.4% rise in the number of people confronting homelessness due to “no-fault” eviction notices, amounting to 24,260 individuals. Over the same period, local authorities witnessed a 30.5% surge in the number of individuals evaluated as sleeping rough.

Despite significant commitments and funding pledges by the Conservative government to address rough sleeping, these statistics raise queries about the efficiency of these endeavors. The crisis is particularly acute in London, where councils are facing a £500 million budget deficit in their efforts to tackle homelessness.

The DLUHC documented record-high outlays by councils throughout England, with over £2.4 billion expended in the 2022/23 fiscal year. More than £1.7 billion was designated for temporary accommodations, with the North West and the North East regions being particularly impacted. Manchester, specifically, is contending with one of the highest homelessness rates in England.

Remarkably, Liverpool underwent the most substantial surge in homelessness, with expenditures shooting up by 341% in just one year. Warrington observed a 210% increase, while Darlington and Wolverhampton witnessed their expenses doubling. The coastal town of Hastings in the southeast is also grappling with an alarming situation, with hundreds of households residing in temporary accommodation.

Many local councils are grappling with the overwhelming workload associated with the homelessness crisis, and different charities, in addition to the shadow minister for homelessness, have advocated for increased housing benefits to tackle this pressing housing crisis.

This underscores the urgent requirement for a more robust approach to homelessness from all political parties. The Labour Party positions itself as a potential alternative government that may adopt a more decisive stance on this issue, emphasizing the urgency of addressing homelessness and providing sustainable solutions.

Image Source: Srdjan Randjelovic / Shutterstock

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