One in three touched by homelessness
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Finance, Local Government
Housing association awarded nearly £100,000 to prevent homelessness
One in three Brits have experienced homelessness or know someone who has, new research has revealed.
And with the number of homeless households having risen by 33% since 2010, the findings by umbrella body Homeless Link also show that eight out of 10 believe councils should be doing more to help people.
But with homelessness soaring, the amout of support services available is shrinking.
Since 2010, 133 homeless projects have closed, over 4,000 bed spaces have been lost, the number of full-time staff in the sector has fallen by 16%, while nearly half (47%) of homeless services last year reported an average fall in investment of 17%.
The charity's intelligence suggests investment in services could fall even further. Councils in the last six months have commonly reported cuts of between 25-40% to housing-related support budgets.
According to Homeless Link's data, of those experiencing homelessness, 72% have mental health issues, 56% long term physical health needs and only 6% are in employment.
With 76% of people agreeing that tackling homelessness is beneficial to their community, the charity has now launched 'Pay it Forward', a campaign calling on councillors to back continued investment in homeless prevention and support in 2014.
Rick Henderson, Homeless Link CEO, said: “These figures highlight how common the experience of being without a home really is and the impact homelessness has on individuals and communities. Homelessness services play a vital role in helping people rebuild their lives, but can only do so if they continue to receive sustainable long-term funding.
“Whilst we understand the pressure councils are under, we also know that investment in tackling homelessness is in everyone’s interest and is backed by the public. Homeless Link is calling for all councils to commit to supporting the innovative projects throughout the country that change lives and benefit society every day.”
Martin Houghton-Brown, chief executive of youth homelessness charity Depaul UK, said: "We welcome Homeless Link's call for local authorities to continue investing in and funding homelessness services.
"At Depaul UK we are working with young people who, in the majority of cases, have become homeless because of family breakdown so prevention work is critical. Creating opportunities to resolve relationship difficulties whilst keeping young people safe is not only incredibly obvious, it also works.
"Family mediation prevents homelessness, reconnects young people to their families and is fundamentally an economically sound solution. For the sake of vulnerable young people I am delighted that increasing numbers of local authorities are asking us to build mediation in as an intrinsic part of our pathways of services for young people. We encourage all local authorities to recognise and invest in this, and other, crucial homelessness services."