A shortage of genuinely affordable homes, insecure private tenancies and cuts to housing benefit has led to a 24% rise in the number of homeless people in the North West within the last year, a new report by Shelter reveals.
The number of people recorded as homeless in the region now stands at 9,350, with Salford having the second highest ratio of homelessness, at one in 570.
Manchester, as always, is top with one in 154 people homeless...
Based on official figures and estimates, the Shelter report, Far from alone: Homelessness in Britain in 2017, records that Salford has a total of 436 homeless people – 26 sleeping rough and 410 living in temporary accommodation.
The rough sleeping figure is for last year. The annual rough sleeping count was carried out in Salford a few days ago but the results haven't been made public yet so it could be officially higher. Indeed, Shelter states that, overall, 'the true figure of homelessness is likely to be even higher'...
"There will be further households who are legally homeless but who have not been recorded by the authorities" the report states "Many of these will be sofa surfing with friends and family."
The report adds further, that there has been a 43% rise in the number of statutory homeless households living in temporary accommodation waiting for a permanent home.
"The single leading cause of homelessness is the loss of a private tenancy" the report explains "Three in ten homeless households have sought statutory assistance for this reason"; while the National Audit Office states from its own investigation that affordability in the private rented sector is "likely to have contributed to the increase in homelessness".
The Audit Office adds that "changes to the Local Housing Allowance are likely to have contributed to the affordability of tenancies for those on benefits, and are an element of the increase in homelessness."
Everywhere in Salford, huge new private rent sector apartment blocks are being built at the expense of social housing. And Shelter is calling for investment in social rent homes, an end to the freeze to Local Housing Allowance and longer tenancies in the private rent sector...
"It's shocking to think that today, thousands of people in the North West are waking up homeless" says Shelter Manchester Hub Manager, John Ryan "Some will have spent the night shivering on a cold pavement, others crammed into a dingy, hostel room with their children. And what is worse, many are simply unaccounted for.
"On a daily basis, we speak to people and families who are desperately trying to escape the devastating trap of homelessness" he adds "A trap that is tightening thanks to decades of failure to build enough affordable homes and the impact of welfare cuts.
"As this crisis continues to unfold, the work of our frontline advisers remains absolutely critical" he explains "We will do all we can to make sure no-one is left to fight homelessness on their own. But we cannot achieve this alone; we urgently need the public's support to be there for everyone who needs us right now."
Shelter has launched an urgent appeal in response to the mounting crisis, calling on the public to support its frontline advisers... See www.shelter.org.uk for further information or or text SHELTER to 70080 to donate £3.
For the second part of this article see: Salix Evicting Salford People But Has £1.3m Contract to Manage Homelessness - click here