A majority of councils in England are finding it difficult to secure permanent accommodation for homeless people, a new report has warned. According to figures from Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 70 per cent of authorities struggled to find social housing for homeless people during 2017.
Meanwhile, 89 per cent admitted they found it hard to secure private rented accommodation for this group.
As a result, councils are increasingly relying on temporary accommodation, such as hostels and B&Bs, to get people off the streets.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said it is “truly terrible” that so many local authorities are struggling to find homeless people somewhere to live.
This, he stated, means that a growing number are ending up “trapped” in temporary accommodation, with “no stability and often in cramped conditions”.
Mr Sparkes has therefore insisted that unless “we take action as a society”, the problem will only keep getting worse.
He argued that homelessness is “not inevitable”, as research has shown how it can become a “thing of the past”.
Mr Sparkes went on to stress that, while Crisis welcomes the government’s pledges to tackle rough sleeping, more social housing that all homeless people can access must be provided if “this push is going to succeed”.
According to the latest government figures, 78,930 households are currently living in temporary accommodation across England.
This is four per cent up on the amount recorded a year ago and 49 per cent higher than the figure for 2013.
Mr Sparkes warned that Crisis’s research suggests this upwards trend will continue in the coming years.
Indeed, estimates suggest the number of households in the “worst forms” of temporary accommodation is set to double by 2026, unless something is done to address the problem.
He noted that while temporary accommodation can be an important short-term measure, the fact that many people are “finding themselves stuck there” means it is clear that the government should invest more in schemes to prevent homelessness in the first place.
Mr Sparkes added that the number of households in temporary accommodation is “unacceptable”, as it is often unsuitable, unsafe and can have a “devastating impact on people’s lives and mental health”.
For further information on any of the points raised in this article please contact Andrew Murray in our Social Housing Team.