According to a new study, as property prices continue to rise, more than a quarter of a million people in England are now homeless.
Using a combination of Freedom of information requests and existing housing data, Housing charity shelter has calculated that 255,000 people are currently homeless.
Shelter’s report shows that the 27 local authorities with the highest homelessness count are in London. In Westminster, the worst affected area in the country, one in 25 people do not have a home.
Official stats show that the number of households living in temporary accommodation was 48,330 five years ago, but had rose to 73,120 as of March this year, a rise of 51%.
According to housing data provider hometrack, it would cost the average Londoner 14.2 times the average gross annual salary of £33,000 pounds to afford a house in the capital.
“Hundreds of thousands of people will face the trauma of waking up homeless this Christmas. Decades in the making, this is the tragic result of a nation struggling under the weight of sky-high rents, a lack of affordable homes, and cuts to welfare support.”
“We all face the consequences when so many in our country grow up without a place to call home. It breaks up communities and wreaks havoc on family life. For the sake of future generations we must pull together to end this crisis, and refuse to rest until every child has a place to call home”
Responding to Shelter’s research, councillor Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s housing spokesman, said:
“Funding pressures are combining with a lack of affordable housing and rents continuing to rise above household incomes to leave many councils struggling to cope with rising homelessness across all areas of the country.”
“Finding emergency housing for homeless people, particularly young or vulnerable people or those with families, is increasingly difficult for councils.”
“There is no silver bullet, and councils alone cannot tackle rising homelessness. It is crucial that the Government recognise and address the wider factors that are increasing homelessness, such as the lack of affordable housing and welfare reforms.”
“Councils need powers and funding to address the widening gap between incomes and rents, resume their historic role as a major builder of new affordable homes and join up all local services – such as health, justice and skills. This is the only way to deliver our ambition to end homelessness.”