Councils are unable to house homeless people in their areas due to a lack of affordable housing, leaving a third of those who contacted their local authority remaining, or becoming homeless.
In a report by homeless charity, Crisis, based on 984 surveys and 89 interviews, it was revealed that since the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) many more people are now getting access to the help they need, but councils are still unable to help a large proportion of affected people.
Due to low housing supply and rents rising above wages and benefits, councils are struggling to afford to house the people that are supposed to be their responsibility.
Many respondents stated that the only support they received was information on how to rent privately, and were given a list of landlords to contact, only to find out that they could not rent from these landlords as their benefits did not cover the rent prices.
Crisis says more must be done to ensure the HRA can reach its full potential of preventing and ending homelessness across England. The charity has called on the government to urgently invest in housing benefit so that it covers the cheapest third of rents and commit to building 90,000 social homes each year for the next 15 years.
Commenting on the research Jon Sparkes, Crisis Chief Executive, said:
“It’s deeply distressing that, across England, councils are being forced to leave the people they are trying to help on the streets or drifting from sofa to sofa – all because they cannot find somewhere safe and affordable for them to live. The HRA has made some good progress in preventing people from becoming homeless, but it’s worrying to see that it’s being constrained by a chronic lack of housing and cuts to housing benefit.
“The HRA can be at the heart of ending homelessness for good, as this report shows, but this is only possible if councils are properly resourced and have the tools, they need to help people leave homelessness behind for good.
“It’s vital that the Government gets to grips with the root causes pushing people into homelessness in the first place, this means ensuring more social homes are built across the country and that housing benefit is restored to truly cover the cost of rent. Only when these measures are in place will we be able to unleash the full potential of the HRA.”