The number of homeless households in England has risen by almost a fifth compared with the same period last year, official figures show. 12,830 new homeless applicants, of which 2,620 had dependent children. Meanwhile, the figures for 2011 as a whole showed nearly 50,000 families were newly classed as homeless during the year. This is a 14% rise on 2010.
Charity Shelter said the data was a shocking reminder of "the divide between the housing haves and have nots".
Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb explained "Amid growing economic gloom and rising unemployment, increasing numbers of ordinary families are falling victim to our housing crisis. Some may be priced out of the housing market, forced to bring up their families in a revolving door of private let after private let. Others may have to leave the areas they have always called home, driven out by the cost of housing. And for those we are hearing about in today's figures, the worst has happened, and they have lost their home altogether."
Chief executive of charity Crisis Leslie Morphy said: "Our worst fears are coming to pass. We face a perfect storm of economic downturn, rising joblessness and soaring demand for limited affordable housing combined with government policy to cut housing benefit plus local cuts to homelessness services. The results are clear: we have now had two years of rising homelessness, and with the worst of the cuts still to bite we can only predict that homelessness will continue to rise."