The shortage of affordable housing is a key driver of homelessness
Homelessness is a crisis. It is devastating and shouldn’t happen to anyone. Every day at Crisis, we see the effects of homelessness on people’s health and wellbeing, their self-esteem, their skills, and their ability to work. That’s why our mission is to end homelessness for good.
Newly published research from Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reveals the true scale of homelessness in England. The Homelessness Monitor: England 2015 shows how official homelessness figures are masking the extent of the problem, with 280,000 cases of people facing homelessness last year – a 9% rise not reflected in the headline statistics.
It reveals how welfare cuts and other changes have left growing numbers struggling to keep a roof over their heads, with more than half of councils fearing worse is yet to come.
The researchers are clear that, along with benefit cuts and the ongoing effects of the recession, the shortage of affordable housing is a key driver of homelessness. Without action, homelessness is set to rise further still. The researchers say:
‘The continuing shortfall in levels of new house building relative to levels of household formation is a prime structural contributor to homelessness and other forms of acute housing need.’
They go on to warn that the rate of new house building would need to almost double from its current levels just to keep pace with the rate of new household formation, let alone to meet future demand.
What this report clearly shows is that political choices have a huge impact on homelessness. As we approach the general election, we want all the parties to take homelessness and housing seriously.
We need all politicians, of all parties, to recognise that there is a housing crisis and take meaningful steps to resolve it. We will only be able to end homelessness if we finally start building the affordable homes we desperately need.
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