High housing costs contribute to homelessness figures, recent report finds

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19th October 2017 19:21 - Housing

High housing costs to homelessness figures, recent report finds

High housing costs contribute to homelessness figures, recent report finds: The London Assembly Housing Committee’s report, titled ‘Hidden homelessness in London’, collated the UK’s homelessness figures between 2014 to 2016.

The report states that a lack of affordable housing is a contributing factor to homelessness statistics, with 43 percent unable to afford rent.

Additionally, homeless statistics found that 225,000 young people located in London have slept in an unsafe place and one in five 16-24 year olds have “sofa-surfed” to seek a safe place to spend the night.  

With regards to those that are not included in official homelessness statistics, the report addressed estimated figures of the ‘hidden homeless’, as well as the issues regarding support for those who are overlooked by local authorities. In addition to this, the report found that a proportion of those who seek help are turned away.


Estimate figures regarding the UK’s hidden homeless are as followed:

·       1 in 10 people are expected to experience hidden homelessness any time in one year;

·       There are around 12,500 hidden homeless people, each night;

·       There are 13 times more hidden homeless people in London, than those sleeping rough.


Additionally, the report states that changes to welfare benefits, such as Local Housing Allowance, and a lack of “practical assistance” increases the likeliness of homelessness amongst families and young people. It was also found that many university students had sofa-surfed, because they were unable to afford housing rent/deposits.   

Commenting on the survey’s results, Sian Berry AM, Chair of the London Assembly Housing Committee, said: “People sleeping on the streets of our city are just the tip of an iceberg. The London Assembly Housing Committee investigation found a much wider problem of hidden homeless people in London who have no permanent home and live precariously.”

In order to help solve the crisis, the Government’s Homelessness Reduction Act recently received Royal Assent and will come in force in April 2018.

With no existing laws in place for local authorities to carry out homeless prevention work, the forthcoming Act states that local authorities must take reasonable steps to prevent people from losing their homes. As well, public authorities are to notify the housing authority if someone they are working with is facing homelessness.

However, in order for the Act to be properly funded, local authorities need to produce more accurate figures and the Housing Options Services will need to change the way they address the homeless.

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