Shelter Briefing - Opposition Day Debate on Homelessness

By: Shaan Bhangal
Published: January 2020

Briefing: Opposition Day Debate on Homelessness

In England, we are facing a national housing emergency driven by a long-term failure to build enough homes, particularly enough social homes. The impacts of this housing emergency are stark:

  • 281,000 people were homeless in 2019. This includes 135,000 children without a home or living in temporary accommodation;

  • 237,000 people are estimated to be living in temporary accommodation. The amount Councils spend on temporary accommodation for homeless households has increased exponentially in the last five years, costing more than £609m in 2013/14 and £1.1bn in 2018/19;

  • In 2018, the average home in England cost eight times more to buy than the average pay packet. On top of this, the average share of income that young families spend on housing has trebled over the last fifty years;

  • Private renters spend an average of 40% of their household income on housing costs, which is more than any other tenure (i.e. homeowners or social tenants).

Every day, Shelter Services see the human impact of the national housing emergency across the country. Last year, our services helped tens of thousands of people improve their housing conditions. This included halting the evictions of 8,700 households, helping more than 5,300 people secure somewhere new to live.

To change this the government must:

  1. Restore Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates to, at least, the 30th percentile of local market rents at the next Budget. This will enable more homeless people to find a secure home that they can afford in the private rented sector, as well as preventing further homelessness moving forward;

  2. Ensure social housebuilding receives the levels of investment necessary to provide a secure, low-cost home to all who need one.