280,000 people in England are recorded as homeless

Homeless charity Shelter has revealed new figures showing that 280,000 people are recorded as homeless in England, an increase of 23,000 since 2016.

The analysis of official rough-sleeping and temporary accommodation figures shows that in one in every 200 people are without a home. For the first time, its review of government data has also exposed that close to 220,000 people in England were threatened with homelessness in the last year. However, a lot of homelessness still goes undocumented.

Shelter is warning that unless the new government takes urgent action to address the dire lack of social homes at the crux of this emergency, the situation is likely to get worse. The charity is also calling on the public to support its frontline workers as they grapple with huge demand this Christmas. In the last year, a call was made to Shelter’s emergency helpline every 44 seconds and its free webchat service was used almost 26,000 times.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Homelessness blights lives and leaves a lasting imprint of trauma, and yet 280,000 people in England are without a home this Christmas. And many are only days away from joining them. As well as those facing serious ill-health or even death sleeping rough on our streets this winter, there are thousands of families trapped in grotty emergency B&Bs, with no space for children to sit and eat, let alone play. This is the grim truth our new government must confront and do something radical to change.

“Until the government acts to stem this crisis, the work of our frontline advisers remains critical. With the public’s support we will do everything we can to help people find a safe and stable place to live – no matter how long it takes.”

The This is England: a picture of homelessness in 2019 report highlights London as the worst-performing area, with one in 52 people now homeless in the capital. Newham tops the list where it is one in 24, followed closely by Haringey and Kensington and Chelsea (both one in 29). Outside of London, rates of homelessness are stark in areas such as Luton (one in 46), Birmingham (one in 66) and Brighton and Hove (one in 75).