Britain

Govt’s homelessness strategy ‘an abject failure’

Homelessness in England is a "national crisis" and the Government's approach to tackling it has been "unacceptably complacent", according to damning report.

The Public Accounts Committee says there are over 78,180 families, including 120,170 children, who are in temporary accommodation.

Homelessness charity Crisis estimates 9,100 people are sleeping rough.

The report said the Department for Communities and Local Government's attitude to reducing homelessness has been "unacceptably complacent", and its limited actions have lacked urgency.

It also warned of the "hidden homeless" – people housed by family and friends in shifting circumstances who are not captured as part of the official figures.

The "limited action" taken by the Government has not given the crisis the urgency it "so badly needed" and its "light touch approach" to working with local authorities has "clearly failed", the report said.

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Image:The number of people sleeping rough has increased by 134% since 2011

The Government needs to tackle the "twin issues of both the supply and affordability of decent housing", which it says underlie the causes of homelessness.

The report says the number of people sleeping rough has increased by 134% since 2011.

Meg Hillier, who chairs the committee, said: "The latest official figures hammer home the shameful state of homelessness in England and the abject failure of the Government's approach to addressing the misery suffered by many thousands of families and individuals.

"The Government must do more to understand and measure the real-world costs and causes of homelessness and put in place the joined-up strategy that is so desperately needed."

A Government spokesman said: "Tackling homelessness is a complex issue with no single solution, but we are determined to help the most vulnerable in society.

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"That's why we are providing over £1bn up to 2020 to reduce all forms of homelessness and rough sleeping and we are bringing in the Homelessness Reduction Act, which is the most ambitious reform in decades, to ensure people get support sooner.

"In addition, we have established a Rough Sleeping and Homelessness Reduction Taskforce across Government, with support from experts, so we can respond as effectively as possible."

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