Briefing: Opposition Day Debate on Homelessness

By: Poppy Terry  Published: December 2016


This document was prepared to brief MPs ahead of an opposition day debate on homelessness. It provides key statistics on homelessness and looks at the root cause and drivers.

Summary

Despite significant policy intervention, homelessness is rising. The number of households living in temporary accommodation and the number of people sleeping rough on a given night have risen for the last five years. The number of households coming to their council and being found to be homeless and in priority need is over a quarter higher than five years ago.

Homelessness is not inevitable – it can and should be prevented. But growing housing market unaffordability, the reduction in social rented homes, restrictions to housing benefit, and cuts to housing support have undermined local attempts to prevent homelessness.

In order to tackle the root causes of homelessness, we need to build 250,000 homes a year, half of which are genuinely affordable to people on low and average incomes. There are also significant steps the government should take in the shorter-term to help ease the housing crisis and decrease the risk of homelessness for many – including reversing the freeze on Local Housing Allowance rates and introducing 5 year minimum tenancies with predictable rent increases.

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