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14 June 2012
Homelessness services lose almost 4,000 bed spaces as latest government statistics show demand has risen 16%.
Figures released by Homeless Link today reveal that almost 4,000 bed spaces have been lost in accommodation services for homeless people, as the latest government statistics show a 16% rise in demand for homelessness services.
The research by Homeless Link, the umbrella organisation for homelessness services in England, also highlights that more than half of local authorities no longer provide hostel accommodation for homeless people. It finds that:
· 62% of local authorities have no direct access hostels (a rise from just 1 in 4 areas having no hostel accommodation in 2008)
· More bed spaces have been lost in the past six months than in the preceding 12 months
According to analysis by Homeless Link of the government figures published today, between January and March 2012:
· The number of households accepted as homeless by councils in England has increased by 16% (compared to the same period in 2011)
· The number of people becoming homeless because of an end to their short hold tenancy has increased by 44% (compared to the same period in 2011)
· Applications and acceptances highest since 2008
Responding to today’s statistics Matt Harrison, interim chief executive of Homeless Link, says:
"These statistics are worrying and it’s easy to see why – demand for homelessness services is rising while provision is decreasing.
"We may be starting to see the impact of welfare reform, as the number of people having their tenancies ended has increased by almost half. Meanwhile hostels and other services are slipping dangerously close to the wire, trying to provide services to more people with fewer resources."
"Despite the lack of accommodation services available there is no reason why local authorities cannot provide options for homeless people. Emergency accommodation such as Nightstops, which house young people until they are placed in longer term accommodation, can prevent those at risk of homelessness having to sleep on the streets.
"We are calling on every local authority to make sure they are providing emergency accommodation to meet this rise in demand. We have now seen a steady increase in homelessness over the past two years. It is clear that if we don’t act now this problem is only going to get bigger and more expensive for everyone."