A report on the causes of a sharp rise in homelessness across England authored by Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Professor of Housing and Social Policy in the Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Environment and Real Estate (I-SPHERE), calls for a change in the law to expand homelessness prevention.
Commissioned by housing charity Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree foundation, the report, The Homelessness Monitor: England, warns that nine out of ten English councils often or sometimes find it difficult to help single homeless people aged 25-34, while 87% find it difficult to help people aged 18-24. It also says that a majority of councils support an approach similar to that introduced in Wales, where help must be provided to anyone faced with the loss of their home and not just those deemed a 'priority', such as families with children.
Professor Fitzpatrick, lead author, said, "The loss of a private tenancy is now the leading cause of homelessness in England, while recent housing and welfare changes could make it even harder for low income households to find a place to live. Faced with these developments, we have to ask, 'Who will house the poorest?'
“As this report shows, councils across England are already struggling to help single homeless people and report that welfare cuts are fueling the problem. The majority agree that we need a change in the law to expand homelessness prevention, and such a move could represent a major step forwards. Nevertheless, without action to ease access to housing for those supported by benefits, it's hard to see how councils will cope if homelessness continues to rise.”