At least 130,000 households in England made homeless in pandemic
While ban on evictions protected some people, domestic abuse and loss of temporary accommodation were common triggers for homelessness
Photograph: Jon Super/RexA homeless person in the centre of Manchester, where 3,660 households were assessed as being without a home in 2020-21.Photograph: Jon Super/RexChaminda JayanettiSun 13 Jun 2021 05.30 BSTAt least 130,000 households in England were made homeless during the first year of the pandemic, despite the government’s ban on evictions, according to data sourced by the
Observer. With the ban now over, fears are rising that a surge of evictions may be imminent. But theObserver’sfigures show that even while the ban was in place, households were being forced from their homes.“The ban didn’t stop tens of thousands from facing homelessness,” said Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter. “During the pandemic, the most common triggers for homelessness were no longer being able to stay with friends or family, losing a private tenancy, and domestic abuse.”
Analysis of published government homelessness statistics and figures collected under the Freedom of Information Act from around 70% of local authorities in England show that 132,362 households were assessed by councils as being owed the “relief duty”, where a household is deemed to already be homeless. The number of homeless households rose slightly in 2020-21 compared with the previous year. headtopics.com
Overall, councils in England were approached 274,000 times for homelessness assistance during 2020-21, with around 106,000 owed the “prevention duty” as they were at risk of homelessness but not yet legally homeless.Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter.
Photograph: Martin Godwin/The GuardianThe number of households applying for support rose sharply during the final quarter of 2020-21. In Cornwall, 44% of applications for support were made in that three-month period, and 64% in Bath and North East Somerset. Among the worst affected councils is Manchester, although this is partly due to the sheer size of the city. In 2020-21, 3,660 households were initially assessed as homeless by Manchester council, up from 2,906 in 2019-20. A spokesperson for the council said: “The pandemic has been a huge source of hardship for many, and in some cases that has led to people losing their homes.
“The eviction suspension which has now come to an end did protect most people from losing their homes, but not all. The people who became homeless during the pandemic were mainly those fleeing domestic abuse or households asked to leave by family or friends. The end of the eviction ban in England will undoubtedly have an impact on the number of people turning to the council for help, but we are yet to see the end result of this change in policy.”Read more: The Guardian »
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