Homelessness at crisis levels warns Salvation Army
published on 28 Feb 2023
Two sets of Government figures released today show that levels of homelessness and rough sleeping have risen to crisis levels warns The Salvation Army.
The annual Rough Sleeping Snapshot in England estimates that 3,069 people were sleeping rough on a single night in Autumn 2022. This was a 26% increase since 2021.
There were also almost 40,000 households in England registered as homeless, including those in temporary or emergency accommodation according to quarterly Government figures for July to September 2022. This is a 2.9% increase compared to the same period last year.
The church and charity, one of the country’s largest providers of homelessness services, is calling for urgent action to stem the tide of people being forced to live on the streets.
Director of The Salvation Army’s Homeless Services Unit, Nick Redmore, said: “The Government’s plan to end rough sleeping by 2024 risks being derailed if it does not take action soon.
“Sleeping rough is the most dangerous form of homelessness, yet many people forced to live on the streets have been turned away by their local authority as they are not deemed vulnerable enough to be given accommodation. But life on the streets puts them in danger of violence, abuse, mental and physical ill health and early death, making them some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“We recognise the huge pressures the cost of living is putting on local authority homelessness budgets and resources, but people must be protected from the dangers of life on the streets.
“To protect people from homelessness and ease the pressure on council accommodation and support, we are calling on the Government to remove the freeze on the Local Housing Allowance so people can afford their rent amid soaring prices. Also, to ensure that funding for local authority and voluntary sector support that helps those currently or at risk of becoming homeless keeps up with inflation.”
To help end rough sleeping by the end of Parliament in 2024, The Salvation Army is calling for:
- Government funding to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping to rise in line with inflation to help the sector meet the needs of those currently and at risk of homelessness.
- A reversal of the freeze on the value of Local Housing Allowance rates to enable people claiming Universal Credit or housing benefit to afford to rent at least three in every ten of the most affordable properties in any given area.