LGA - Councils respond to latest homelessness figures

29 Sep 2016 10:18 AM

Cllr Martin Tett, Housing spokesman for the Local Government Association, says significant budget cuts, falling social housing availability and welfare reforms mean councils cannot tackle the challenge of homelessness alone.

"Councils want to help everyone at risk of homelessness and support those who are homeless into accommodation as soon as possible. Faced with significant cuts to their budgets, falling social housing availability and welfare reforms, it is clear councils cannot tackle this challenge alone.

"Simply rushing through extensive new duties on stretched councils already doing everything they can to prevent and solve homelessness risks unintended consequences for those people that we are all trying to help. Any new duties must be fully thought through, deliverable, and fully funded.

"There is an urgent need to address the factors driving up homelessness, the availability of suitable housing and rents spiralling above household incomes, and to gear all public services to respond to the personal needs of every individual at risk of homelessness or who is homeless.

"Councils are best placed to lead the local effort but need to be able to bring together local housing, health, justice, welfare and employment partners to prevent and resolve homelessness.

"As a third of new homelessness cases now emerge from a private tenancy ending, homes for affordable and social rent are crucial to keep rents low and prevent homelessness. However, the availability of social rented council housing has halved since 1994, dropping from 3.6 million properties to 1.6 million properties in 2016.

"That is why giving councils the powers and funding to resume their historic role as a major builder of affordable homes is also vital to end homelessness."

Building our homes, communities and future: preliminary findings from the LGA Housing Commission  

View related statistics: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statutory-homelessness-and-homelessness-prevention-and-relief-england-april-to-june-2016