Response to Government homelessness figures
published on 25 Nov 2022
Cost of living crisis is pushing more people into homelessness.
The Salvation Army is warning new Government figures show that growing numbers of people are reporting inability to pay their rent as the reason they are at risk from homelessness.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ statistics show that 72,210 people were registered homeless or at risk of homelessness between April – June 2022 in England.
Crucially, the number of people threatened with homelessness because they were unable to pay their rent went up by 42% compared with the same period last year.
Salvation Army Director of Homelessness Services Nick Redmore said:
“Not only are the numbers of people who are at risk of being made homeless creeping up, the figures are starting to show there is a new group of people who are struggling to make ends meet due to combined pressures of higher rental charges, and food and fuel costs.
“This underlines what Salvation Army officers are already seeing in our churches. People who used to donate to our food banks are now queuing for food parcels, working parents unable to afford warm coats and school uniforms, and young people coming to our churches and community centres for warmth.
“We are at a crucial turning point. Currently, while the numbers of people at risk of homelessness are relatively small, they are growing at an alarming rate. To prevent more people facing the threat of homelessness, we are calling on the Government to remove the freeze on the Local Housing Allowance. This would ensure that Housing Benefit can better match the true cost of rented accommodation.
“We also welcome the Government’s commitment to reforming the private rented sector which would give private tenants more security in their homes.”
Other figures in the report highlight a breakdown in people’s support networks as a common reason for being at risk of homelessness, including:
- 126% increase of cases due to domestic violence
- 21% increase of cases were due to family and friends no longer able to accommodate them
- 31% increase of cases due to non-violent relationship breakdown with a partner.
Nick Redmore added:
“Relatives being unable to let you ‘sofa surf’, relationships breaking down and rising domestic violence are common symptoms of the pressures faced when people are struggling to make ends meet. Again this is what we are seeing in our services across the UK. Need is growing, and people need the help of churches and charities more than ever before.”