Latest Public Sector News

31.07.12

25% increase in homelessness in England

Homelessness rose by 25% in England over the last three years, new data shows.

Data company SSentif reported that 50,290 families and individuals were classed as homeless in 2011/12, compared to 40,020 in 2009/10.

But spending to tackle the problem had fallen from £213.7m to £199.8m over that same period, SSentif stated.

The highest percentage increase in the number of households left homeless was found in the East of England, with the number of cases rising from 3,660 in 2009/10 to 5,270 in 2011/12 – a 44% increase. The North East was the only region which saw a fall in the number declared homeless.

SSentif’s managing director Judy Aldred said: “By analysing the data at council level we were able to highlight some areas that are showing much greater increases than the national average. In Birmingham, where homelessness increased 25% from 2009-10 to 2010-11, spend dropped from £7.8m to £5.5mn (29%).”

And shadow communities secretary Hilary Benn said: “This surge in homelessness has been caused by a perfect storm of a double-dip recession made in Downing Street and sharp falls in housebuilding.

“The Government’s own figures show that social house completions dropped 97% in 2011/12 compared to the year before, and affordable housing by 68%. To help bring homelessness down and get the economy moving, the Government should use funds raised from a tax on bank bonuses to build thousands of affordable homes.”

But a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “We have maintained funding for homelessness grants at 2010-11 levels with £400m over the next four years, and on top of that we announced an additional £70m investment over the last year.”

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