More than 70,000 households homeless or at risk last summer

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More than 70,000 households were homeless or at risk of homelessness last summer, according to Government figures.

In total, 34,940 households were judged to not have a permanent home between July and September 2019.

This was an increase of almost 17% on the previous year, when 29,920 households were in the same situation.

In addition, 36,640 households were at risk of homelessness within eight weeks over the same period last year.

These numbers had decreased since the same period in 2018, when 37,850 households were close to losing their home.

Two thirds (65.9%) of the homeless or at-risk households did not include children, however, more than 46% had support needs such as mental health problems or physical disabilities.

The figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) also showed an increase in the number of families in temporary accommodation.

On September 30 last year, 87,410 households were in temporary housing, up from 83,430 12 months earlier.

The numbers come as one charity called on the Government to provide better support for those in unstable accommodation against the coronavirus.

Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, said: “Thousands of families with children are … living in cramped emergency B&Bs and hostels.

“It can be more difficult for them to follow NHS isolation guidance when they are sharing kitchens and bathrooms with strangers, living in a single room or even sharing a bed.”

She added: “We need to protect families already experiencing the trauma of homelessness from greater risk of coronavirus.

“That’s why we’re urging the Government to follow suit with additional funding and support for councils to help those currently in shared temporary accommodation and prevent anyone else ending up there. ”

A spokesman for MHCLG said: “Everyone deserves a safe and secure place to live and following the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act, more people are able to access the support they need.

“Our recent rough sleeping statistics showed those sleeping on the streets fell for the second year running.

“However, there is much more to do. We are providing £492m to tackle rough sleeping and homelessness this year to stop people from becoming homeless and ensuring those that are can rebuild their lives with a roof over their head.”

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