Headlines: March 23rd, 2016

New homelessness figures show that 14,470 households were accepted as homeless between October and December last year – a rise of 6% across England and 10% in London compared to the previous year.

Meanwhile, in Wales between October and December, the number of households accepted as homeless fell by 67% compared to the previous year to a total of 405. At the start of 2015, the Welsh Government introduced a new legal duty to prevent or relieve homelessness. Where Welsh councils worked to prevent households from becoming homeless, they were successful in 66% of cases.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “??“Homelessness in England is soaring, and today’s figures show a further 6% rise between October and December of 2015. We already have a huge task ahead of us, and many of the underlying causes remain: more and more people are struggling to pay their rent in an increasingly insecure market, while cuts to housing benefit and local council funding have left the safety net in tatters. ?

“Yet if we look across to Wales, we see a very different picture that could show the way forward for England. In 2014 the Welsh Government enacted a new law requiring councils to help prevent people from becoming homeless, and as we can see from today’s figures, they are already having considerable success. Where councils intervened to prevent people from becoming homeless, they were successful in two thirds of cases. At the same time, we have seen a drop of 67% in the number of people formally accepted as homeless. ??“The law as it stands in England means that single homeless people who go to their councils for help are often turned away to sleep on the streets – cold, desperate and forgotten. It’s a scandal that someone in this situation can be told they’re not vulnerable enough for help.

He added “Now is the time for action, and the course is very clear. We strongly urge the government to follow through on its commitment to consider options – including legislation – to prevent more people from becoming homeless. It is essential that all homeless people can get the help they need and that councils get the necessary funding to deliver on this.”