Benefit cut-driven homelessness rise a 'real and growing scandal'
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities, Housing
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Charity Crisis has blamed a dramatic rise in homelessness on the Tory-led coalition's raft of benefit cuts, slamming the situation as a "real and growing scandal".
Official figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show that from April to June this year, 3,580 households became homeless due to private tenancies coming to an end - an increase of 32% on the same period in 2012.
And the number of households in temporary accommodation also rose, by 9% to 56,210.
Leslie Morphy, Crisis chief executive, said: “People who need the support of housing benefit to make ends meet have seen cut after cut in the amount they receive. We have been warning for years that this would drive up homelessness and today’s figures could not be clearer. Thousands are becoming homeless because their housing benefit is no longer enough for them to be able to pay the rent."
Nearly a fifth of those who present themselves to their local authorities as homeless are recognised as homeless but don’t meet the strict “priority need” criteria for housing and so are turned away.
This group, mainly single people, has gone up by 10% in the last year.
Leslie Morphy added: “The number of people requiring temporary accommodation is continuing to rise and worryingly more and more people are being placed out of area.
"Thousands more are homeless but being denied any help at all because they don’t meet the narrow criteria. The government must respond to these figures, rethink its cuts to housing benefit and ensure that all homeless people, not just those judged in priority need, get assistance.”
Gavin Smart, director of policy and practice at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “The continuing rise in homelessness is extremely concerning. The increase in the number of households who are not priority need reflects the high numbers of low income households struggling to find accommodation due to high rents and high deposits.
“We urgently need an expansion in the number of social homes. We also need to ensure that the welfare system works to support those who need it most in the face of a dysfunctional housing market.”