Story by: ROB SETCHELL
Saturday, November 17, 2012
HOMELESSNESS in the East of England has seen the biggest increase in the country in the last two years - and it is on the rise in Cambridgeshire.
The National Housing Federation’s Homeless Bound? report has revealed that new cases of homelessness in the East have soared by 44 per cent since 2010. That is nearly double the national increase of 26 per cent and follows seven years of consecutive falls.
That figure relates to “homeless acceptance” - which is when a local authority accepts a household as unintentionally homeless and eligible for support.
In Cambridgeshire “homeless acceptance” rose by 29 per cent and the number of homeless families with children who had to stay in bed and breakfasts increased by 125 per cent - the second biggest rise in the East. Nine families were forced to stay in these hotels for more than six weeks.
Across the East, 162 families with children or pregnant women were living in bed and breakfasts in the first three months of this year. That is a 72 per cent rise on last year’s figures.
Rough sleeping in the region has increased by 17 per cent in just one year, but in Cambridgeshire there was a smaller rise of two per cent in rough sleepers.
Claire Astbury, from the National Housing Federation, said: “The figures are shocking and indicate that many people in the East of England are truly being pushed to the brink.
“Our report shows that private renters – who make up 15% of East of England households today and an even greater proportion in the future – are increasingly at risk of losing the roof over their heads.
“Alongside the terrible rise in rough sleepers, many more children are now being pushed into temporary accommodation such as B&Bs. These are families who never dreamed they could end up on the streets. This is the new face of homelessness.
“We spend £1billion a year nationwide on trying to prevent homelessness, yet it keeps on rising.
“The only long-term solution is to build more affordable homes for sale and for rent. Only then will we truly be able to protect people from the traumatic experience of being made homeless.”
More than one in five new cases of homelessness in the East were caused by a private tenancy ending.