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The number of people made homeless because they were evicted by their private landlord has more than doubled in the last five years, new government figures show, according to Shelter.

In the past twelve months, 13,990 households were accepted as homeless by their council after their landlord ended their private rented tenancy, compared with 5,650 five years ago. Private rental evictions became the number one cause of homelessness for the first time in early 2012, and now represent nearly a third (30 per cent) of all homelessness cases in England.

More than nine million people now privately rent their homes in England, and almost one in three renting households are families. Shelter is warning that the situation is likely to get worse as a combination of sky-high rents, unstable short-term tenancies and a wave of welfare changes are leaving thousands of families struggling to find anywhere they can afford to live.

The government’s figures also reveal that the number of homeless families in temporary accommodation rose to 44,510 – the highest it has been for five years.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Behind every one of these shocking statistics stands a person or a family who’s gone through the tragedy of losing their home. And what’s more worrying is that we know these figures are only the tip of the iceberg.

“The failure of successive governments to build enough affordable homes has left us with a housing market that’s totally out of control. As a result more and more families are finding themselves living in unstable rented homes, unable to put down roots and facing a monthly battle with sky-high housing costs.

“We speak to families every day who are struggling to cope with the cost of housing, often forced to cut back on essentials or even skip meals just to keep a roof over their children’s heads.

“With so many of us already on a financial knife-edge, all it takes is one thing like a sudden rent rise to tip a family into a spiral that ends in homelessness.

“Politicians have to give back hope to all those crying out for a stable home, by building the genuinely affordable homes that we desperately need.”

Wait – there’s more (according to Shelter’s blog).

While the overall number of households accepted as homeless has slightly dropped again this quarter, the number in B&B has increased to an 11 year high.

And the number of households placed in temporary accommodation in another council area is at the highest level since records began in 1998.  And a quarter of temporary accommodation is now out of area.

What Shelter won’t tell you is that this is the intended result of government policies designed to turf people the Conservatives (and, one imagines, the Liberal Democrats) deem undesirable out of areas they consider to be desirable and force them to find somewhere else to live – if they can.

The Bedroom Tax, the Benefit Cap, low wages, high private rents and house prices all contribute to this, and are either Tory policies or phenomena the Tories and their friends have allowed to go unchecked.

Tories don’t care if these people end up starving on the street, as long as they can make a fat wad of cash out of the space they leave behind.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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