Briefing - Estimates Day Debate on Homelessness

By: Charlotte Gerada  Published: February 2018


Homelessness has risen dramatically since 2010. One of the results of this is to cost local authorities enormous amounts of money, with £1.15 billion being spent on homelessness services in 2015-16. Shelter believes that we need to take steps to address this by ending the freeze on LHA rates, introducing five year tenancies as standard in the private rented sector and dramatically increasing the supply of social housing.

Summary

  • Homelessness has risen dramatically across a range of measures since 2010, with over 120,000 children now living in temporary accommodation (TA).
  • This is costing local authorities enormous amounts of money - £1.15bn on homelessness services during 2015-16 and over three-quarters of this – £845m – was spent on TA.
  • Living in TA is very challenging for families, were over-crowding, poor conditions and distance from schools and jobs is commonplace.
  • A lack of stability in the private rented sector is leading to evictions and families being unable to find a secure, affordable home.
  • The lack of social housing means the demands for lower-cost housing isn’t currently being met.

Recommendations:

  • LHA rates should be restored to the bottom 30th percentile of the market: By raising LHA rates, low-income tenants will have a better chance of keeping their homes and preventing eviction. For those currently in TA, higher rates of LHA will help them to move on and find a suitable, settled home in the private rented sector.
  • Tenancies in England should be extended to five years: Five year tenancies will give families better security and stability if they’re renting in the private rented sector. This would help children to remain in their schools and prevent stress and costs associated with moving.
  • We need to dramatically increase supply of social housing: The ultimate solution to housing low-income households is through social housing. At present, we don’t have adequate supply to meet current and future demands.

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