Poverty and Inequality

10.08.17

Rough sleeping set to soar by 76% over the next decade

Rough sleeping is likely to rise by around three quarters in the next decade, a new report from a major homelessness charity has today warned.

New analysis ‘Homelessness projections: Core homelessness in Great Britain’, undertaken by Heriot-Watt University on behalf of Crisis, has underlined the severity of the housing crisis, as it predicts that homelessness was set to soar over the next 10 years.

At present, nearly 160,000 households amounting to a quarter of a million people are experiencing the worst type of homelessness in Britain, whilst countless more were suffering from having to ‘couch surf’ and live in unsuitable temporary accommodation.

Experts found at any one time in Britain, 9,100 people were sleeping rough, whilst 68,300 were sofa surfing and 19,300 households were in temporary accommodation. 

Using sophisticated economic modelling, Crisis found that if policies remained unchanged, all types of homelessness will keep rising, with overall numbers expected to increase by more than a quarter in the coming decade.

“This year Crisis marks its 50th anniversary, but that’s little cause for celebration,” said Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis. “We still exist because homelessness still exists, and today’s report makes it only too clear that unless we take action as a society, the problem is only going to get worse with every year that passes.”

Sparkes added that regardless of what happens in people’s lives, whatever difficulties they face or choices they make, no one should ever have to face homelessness.

“With the right support at the right time, it doesn’t need to be inevitable. There are solutions, and we’re determined to find them and make them a reality,” he said. 

The LGA’s housing spokesperson Cllr Judith Blake said that councils were committed to ending homelessness, adding that the report backed up recent warnings from the LGA that councils were having to house a secondary school’s worth of homeless children every month.

“For families, rising homelessness is tragic,” she stated. “For councils housing homeless people, it is unsustainable. Homelessness is everyone’s business, and councils need the help of health, employment, and housing partners to deliver ambitions to end it.

“In particular, councils need to be able to adapt the implementation of some welfare reforms to ensure there are housing options for people on low incomes.”

There is no substitute for a renaissance in council house building if we’re to truly address the rising homelessness we face as a nation, Cllr Blake argued: “For that to happen, government needs to allow councils to borrow to invest in genuinely affordable housing, and to keep all of their receipts from Right to Buy sales, so that money can be reinvested into delivering genuinely affordable homes.”

Top Image: Jonathan Brady PA Archive

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Comments

Chris   10/08/2017 at 13:02

That there is a 'crisis' is irrefutable regarding those sleeping on the streets but ignoring the fact (and it is an absolute FACT) that a large percentage of so called rough sleepers do in fact have somewhere to go is irresponsible. Whilst well meaning members of the public continue throw money into shop doorways and cardboard boxes those who are suitably housed will continue to haunt the streets in light blue sleeping bags and old coats. They don't get money given to them tucked up in bed at home. The expectation that the 'dole money' will keep them well oiled and provide lungs full of cigarette tar is naïve. There are plenty of genuine homeless folk who need help and those who give money or target charitable resources willy nilly to anyone sat on the floor in the High Street need to wake up and smell the coffee. The likelihood is that you are helping them to their grave by supporting whatever habit the have and at best you are preventing the genuine homeless receiving the help they need. Give sensibly!

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