Homelessness has rocketed and the Tories should be ashamed of themselves

The latest government figures for England show the number of households in temporary accommodation has rocketed in the past 12 months – up nearly …

By Steve Topple

The latest government figures for England show the number of households in temporary accommodation has rocketed in the past 12 months – up nearly 11%. This includes a staggering 93% increase in the number of families with children forced to live in temporary bed and breakfast accommodation. That is, the number of children experiencing homelessness has once again gone up.

One think tank has slammed the government – calling on the Tories to bring in the Renters Reform Bill now.

Homelessness: up yet again

On Thursday 30 November, the government published its latest quarterly figures on homelessness. Its own report found that across England, local authorities:

  • Assessed 73,660 households for potential homelessness.
  • 34,850 of those were deemed at risk of homelessness – up 1.5% from the same quarter last year. This includes 6,640 households threatened with homelessness due to service of a Section 21 notice to end an Assured Shorthold Tenancy – an increase of 10.3% from the same quarter last year.
  • 38,810 of the 73,660 households were homeless at that moment – up 6.9% from the same quarter last year. Households with children increased 6.5% from the same quarter last year to 10,670 households in April to June 2023.
  • On 30 June 2023, 105,750 households were in temporary accommodation, which is an increase of 10.5% from 30 June 2022. Households with children increased by 13.8% to 68,070, and single households increased by 5.0% to 37,680. Compared to the previous quarter, the number of households in temporary accommodation has increased by 1.2%.

However, this is not the whole story.

Think tank the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) looked at the government’s figures. It found:

  • An 18% increase in the number of households who were homeless and helped by councils as a result of a no-fault eviction compared to last year.
  • 9,800 households in total approached their council as they were at risk of homelessness due to a no-fault eviction between April and June 2023.
  • Families with children living in B&Bs are up 93% on a year ago.
  • Families with children in B&Bs beyond the six-week legal limit are up 146% on a year ago and 39% on the previous three months.

Principal policy adviser at the JRF Darren Baxter said:

Homelessness is on the rise and more families face the threat of eviction through no fault of their own. Families with children are being left with no choice but to live in unsuitable and costly temporary accommodation because of a lack of social housing.

So far, the Tories have done little to stop the scourge of homelessness in the UK.

Tory inaction = children’s misery

The government has dragged its heels on the Renters Reform Bill – which was supposed to stop, among other things, no-fault evictions leading to homelessness. Just days ago on Tuesday 28 November, the Tories once again showed their contempt for homeless families. As the Big Issue reported:

a last-minute change to the legislation means that the ban on no-fault evictions ­– also known as Section 21 notices – won’t come into force until after the courts have been reformed, a process for which there is currently no timeframe.

Last night (28 November), the government blocked a Labour amendment that would see the ban come into force as soon as the Renters Reform Bill passes into law.

Labour’s shadow housing and planning minister Matthew Pennycook accused the government of “kicking the can down the road.”

Therefore, there is still no hope for renters on the horizon. Baxter summed up by saying:

The government must bring in the Renters Reform Bill and abolish Section 21 without any more delays. The Bill must also be strengthened so it actually provides private renters with greater security than they currently have. This should include doubling the notice period for tenants when evicted under new no-fault grounds to four months.

Tenants should also be protected from eviction for two years at the start of a tenancy. We must also build more social housing so that children aren’t left languishing in temporary accommodation while they wait for a suitable home.

Featured image via MaxPixel

By Steve Topple

This post was originally published on Canary.


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