Sunday, September 15, 2019

In-work Homelessness

One in four households in England found to be homeless or under threat of homelessness last year were in paid work at the time.

Of more than 260,000 households facing a homelessness crisis, more than a quarter of applications for council support were made by a household member who was in paid employment at the time. In some areas, the proportion of working households facing losing their homes was much higher, reaching more than half in one council, Rutland in the East Midlands. Newham council in east London accepted homelessness more than 40% were in work. In-work households made up 31% of cases in south-east England and 30% in London and the east of England, compared to just 17% in the north east, where housing is cheaper.

Polly Neate, the chief executive of Shelter, said, “We regularly hear from distressed people who are facing the unforgiving reality of holding down a job while having nowhere stable to live. Despite working all the hours they can, too many people have been pushed into the housing emergency by expensive private rents, punishing housing benefit cuts and a chronic lack of social homes.” 

Overall, councils in England recorded 118,700 households as homeless and a further 145,020 as being under imminent threat of homelessness in 2018-19. Of those, 71,210 applications for council support were made by a household member who was in paid employment at the time, divided evenly between full-time and part-time work.

Frances O’Grady, the TUC’s general secretary, said: “No-one should face homelessness in the UK. It’s shocking that so many working households face losing their home. It’s the result of a crisis of low pay and insecure work, with too many workers not knowing if they’ll make enough money from one week to the next. Britain needs a real pay rise to £10 per hour as soon as possible. We need cuts to housing benefit reversed. And we need exploitative zero-hours contracts banned once and for all.”

Darren Baxter, the housing policy and partnerships manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “It is totally unacceptable that a large number of working families are being locked out of our housing market. It undermines what we stand for as a society that low-paid, insecure work, unaffordable rents and a lack of support from our social security system are trapping people into poverty and homelessness.”

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