Homelessness Increases by 14% in 2011

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Having decreased since 2003, a small increase in the number of households accepted as homeless by local authorities in 2010 was followed by a 14% increase in 2011.

Almost 50,000 households were accepted as homeless over that period, three quarters of which contained children.

Clearly, this is largely due to the economic downturn, rising unemployment and the increasing demand for the limited amount of affordable housing. Changes in housing benefit regulations have also had an effect.

A relatively small proportion of households applying as homeless (around 1500) did so following repossession. However, this figure is a 44% increase on the previous year. A further 8,500 households applied as homeless following expiry of their short term private lease, itself up 30% compared to 2010.

Changes to the housing benefit regulations, introduced in April 2011, have yet to have a full effect on many HB applicants but will begin to do so more and more over the forthcoming year. Caps on HB entitlement in the private sector can only lead to increased evictions and further homeless applications.

There has been a slight decrease of around 6% in the number of properties made available to homeless applicants. Despite local authorities being discouraged from using B&B accommodation and there being a six week time limit for doing so, the use of this has inevitably increased and is up 37% on the figure in 2010 following several years of decreases.

Hanne & Co’s housing law department are able to advise and assist with dealing with rent arrears, defending possession proceedings and assisting with homeless applications and challenges to local authorities decisions. Our housing solicitors are always on hand to assist, advise and support in what can be a very stressful time for any tenant.

If you have a housing issue, please contact, one of our housing law team. Our housing solicitors, Ian Butler and Claire Wiles, can be contacted by emailing info@hanne.co.uk or by calling 020 7228 0017.

By Housing Solicitor, Claire Wiles