Urgent action needed to combat homelessness
Since 2010, there has been a 169% rise in rough sleeping† and the number of households deemed to be homeless by local authorities is now 48% higher than its 2009/2010 level.† Add to this the 250% rise since 2009 in the number of people being housed in bed and breakfast accommodation†, and it’s clear that the UK has a mounting homelessness crisis.
The Homelessness Reduction Act was passed in April this year and requires local authorities to provide more support for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. While Emmaus lobbied in support of the Act, they still have serious concerns about its ultimate impact.
Simon Grainge, Chief Executive of Emmaus UK, commented: “We worry that local authorities have neither the resources nor expertise to implement the Act effectively. It also fails to address the underlying causes of rising homelessness, in particular the lack of affordable housing and the impact of benefit reforms.”
Reforms to Local Housing Allowance have reduced access to private rented accommodation for those on low incomes, not least because landlords often refuse to accept tenants who are in receipt of benefits, even though they may be in work. There is also a diminishing pool of social housing available, especially for those who are dependent on benefits or have complex needs.
Simon Grainge adds: “Something drastic has to change if we are to stop this epidemic of homelessness. We have to strengthen the safety net and stop people ending up in a vulnerable housing situation in the first place.”
Emmaus is clearly needed more than ever. Could you spare a gift today to help get more homeless people off the streets? Call us on 0300 303 7555 or click here.
†Source: The Homelessness Monitor: England 2018