Homelessness hits five-year high – Shelter


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.

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  1. Penny Mayes October 4, 2014 at 12:12 am - Reply

    While not entirely convinced by your suggestion this is some sort of class-cleansing by political parties I am reminded of a family I met about 15 years ago when I lived in a ‘deprived area’ in Kent.
    This family were seeking help as their private landlord, who had been working abroad, was returning and wanting to live in his house so had served them notice to quit. The local Council had told them they could not be re-housed until they had been evicted, they could not act on notice of eviction.
    The really bad news was there was no available housing in the area so chances were they would be put in a B&B in Margate, 40 miles away.
    This was a family with children happily settled in local schools, they had family pets, both parents had jobs. Uprooted and sent down the coast to the homeless ghetto that was Margate the children would lose contact with their friends, the pets would have to go and the parents would lose their jobs which did not pay enough to cover the commute.
    I wasn’t the only one in tears by the time I’d heard their story.
    Little has changed since then, insufficient social housing is a large part of the problem and I guess you know who to blame for that.

  2. Thomas M October 4, 2014 at 4:49 am - Reply

    Whilst not every last person who has become homeless became so as a direct result of this government, a lot of them have. The sooner I see the Tories and their little yellow helpers thrown out, the better.

  3. Linari October 4, 2014 at 7:52 am - Reply

    The rents for the private rental sector in the south of England are extremely high and once again the last Labour and now this present Government are to blame as they will not build social housing nor cap the amount charged by landlords who are being allowed to pay Interest only on their mortgages whilst getting a very profitable rental income, mainly from the tax paying public. The rents should be capped to the same amount as the local authorities charge. The other maddening thing here (according to a previous news report) is that the multi property landlords in London have been assured that when the ‘new’ benefit system finally rolls out that they will get the rents upfront.

  4. amnesiaclinic October 4, 2014 at 11:29 am - Reply

    ‘and this is only the tip of the iceberg’. Each and every story one of misery, stress and horror.


  5. Jen October 5, 2014 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    If only Labour cared any more than the Tories – but these private sector homeless figures are driven more by them than the Blues or even the right/left coalition.

    It’s rooted in the private sector phase of the bedroom tax (Labour’s work), the lack of housebuilding over many years (again, the last couple of decades that’s mostly on Labour’s watch) and the deliberate development of a housing price bubble that burst taking us all down with it in 2007 – in turn leaving buy-to-let landlords with homes they need to keep paying the mortgage on in a time of rising living costs.

    • Mike Sivier October 5, 2014 at 7:50 pm - Reply

      There was no private sector phase of the bedroom tax, and Labour was not behind any such policy. Haven’t you seen Vox Political’s comprehensive debunking of this myth?

  6. Sharon Johnson October 7, 2014 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    Trying to blame private landlords for the housing shortage is ridiculous. They need rent coming in & only even evict if they are selling the place or have bad tenants.
    If it wasn’t for mass immigration, which incidentally has left the already low population density Eastern European countries even less densely populated & losing their workforce so it’s no good for them, then we wouldn’t need to build millions more homes.
    The social housing queue has gone from 2 years long to 8+ years long since ‘British jobs for Polish Workers’ Gordon Brown opened the floodgates.
    I don’t blame immigrants. I blame tghe politicnas.
    Open border immigration policy is totally irresponsible.
    Vote UKIP

    • Mike Sivier October 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm - Reply

      Voting UKIP is irresponsible beyond belief, though – for reasons mentioned on this blog many times. Google (other search engines are available) “Vox Political UKIP” and see.

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