1134 GMT February 23, 2018
Analysis by Heriot-Watt University for Crisis has found that the number of homeless people in Britain will reach 575,000, up from 236,000 in 2016. The number of people sleeping rough will more than quadruple from 9,100 in 2016 to 40,100 over the same period, the research found, The Guardian reported.
The forecast, released to mark the 50th anniversary of Crisis, comes as the number of homeless households has jumped by a third in the past five years. The majority of those affected are ‘sofa surfers’, with 68,300 people sleeping on other people’s couches.
The biggest rise will be for those placed by a council in unsuitable accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts, with the total expected to rise from 19,300 to 117,500.
Crisis has urged the government to build more affordable housing and launch a concerted effort to tackle rough sleeping.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “With the right support at the right time, it doesn’t need to be inevitable. Together we can find the answers and make sure those in power listen to them.”
Jess Phillips, Labor MP for Birmingham Yardley, said that homelessness had become the bulk of her workload. “The government needs to wake up. The system is broken. Without more social housing, a flood of good temporary accommodation and investment in homelessness support the problem will get worse.”
Jim McMahon, Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton, said: “This is a crisis of the government’s own making. Deliberate and targeted policies and cuts in welfare, housing and community support have made a bad situation terrible.”
Jacqui McCluskey, director of policy and communications at the charity Homeless Link, said the predictions were extremely concerning. “It is unacceptable that anyone should have no other option than to sleep on the streets or live in poor-quality temporary accommodation, and we must continue to act to ensure the current situation not only improves but definitely does not worsen.
The report found that the problems will be more acute in England compared with Scotland, with London particularly affected. The capital is forecast to account for more than half of England’s homeless population by 2041.