In Jeremy Corbyn’s inaugural speech to the Labour party conference he spoke passionately and in detail about housing being one of the party’s top priorities, describing the Tory policy as damaging, with “private rents out of control”.
He called for action to build more council homes, tackle land hoarding and land speculation, including a review into housing policy.
He said: “I want a kinder, more caring politics that does not tolerate more homelessness, more upheaval for families in temporary accommodation.”
David Cameron yesterday also focused on improving access to affordable homes for the young to buy, and not rent.
Unfortunately, the steady rise in the number of homeless households in England is far from over, new data from the Department of Communities and Local Government has confirmed.
It’s worth noting that these figures do not include those who are homeless but do not approach local authorities for assistance.
They also do not include rough sleepers, who are estimated to number roughly 2,744 in England. This was up from 2,414 in 2013, 2,309 in 2012, 2,181 in 2011 and 1,768 in 2010.
Reasons for homelessness: rents and relationship breakdowns
The main reason why households were declared homeless is the end of an assured shorthold tenancy, with 30 per cent of those made homeless stating this as the main reason.
The main reasons behind homelessness have remained unchanged: relationship breakdowns and the termination of rent contracts. However, there has been a rise in the latter in London, largely believed to be down to rising house prices.
Homelessness worse in London, but improving in Scotland
The problem appears to be worse in London, and the effect of tenancy accommodation being withdrawn more significant. Around 30 per cent of these homeless households are living in London, and of those households 38 per cent in the second quarter of 2015 cited the end of a tenancy, a figure that has remained steady for the past year.
In Scotland, on the other hand, they have a different system of measuring homelessness, which makes the statistics slightly more difficult to compare. Scottish figures look at the number of applications for homelessness, whereas in England statistics measure the overall number of households who have been declared homeless.
Margaret Burgess, the Scottish housing minister, said she welcomed the drop in the number of homelessness applications but was concerned about the rise in the number of children in temporary accommodation.
Scotland is experiencing a steady fall in the number of applications for homelessness assistance. In the most recent quarter 8,495 homelessness applications were processed, a drop of 7 per cent from the same quarter last year. However, the number of adults and children in temporary accommodation is up 15 per cent this year.
Under local authorities in Wales, the numbers are presented slightly differently again, but the latest available figures also indicate a slight drop from 3,775 in the same quarter last year, to 3,590 this year.
Also worth noting:
99,080 children are living in temporary accommodation in England as of this quarter, up more than 14,000 since the previous year.
36 per cent of those homeless households in England live in accommodation leased from the private sector by a local authority; 31 per cent in other private sector accommodation; 17 per cent in local authority or housing association property; 8 per cent in hostels and 8 per cent in bed and breakfast hotels.
Two thirds of households in England remain in temporary accommodation for under six months. Only 4 per cent remain there for five years or longer.