The government has released new figures on homelessness in England today. They show that between January and March 2020:
- A quarter (25%) of households (19,160) who were facing homelessness and applied to their local council for assistance were renting from a private landlord at the time.
- One in five (20%) households facing homelessness (15,130) lost their last settled home due to the ending of a private tenancy. Of these households, a quarter (25%) lost their tenancy as a result of rent arrears.
- In just three months, almost 5,000 households were threatened with homelessness as a result of being served with a Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notice – equating to 12% of all households found to be threatened with homelessness.
- At the time the Covid-19 crisis was unfolding, more than half (52%) of households found to be homeless by their local council were not helped to find a home.
- Existing Shelter research shows almost 230,000 private renters in England have fallen into arrears since the pandemic started, which could put their home at risk. And despite the evictions ban, more than 170,000 private tenants have already been threatened with eviction by their landlord or letting agent.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter said: “Today’s figures show private renters were already badly affected by homelessness when the pandemic was just taking hold. Thousands more renters have since had their lives turned upside down as the country descends into economic free-fall.
“With daily news of new job cuts and the eviction ban set to lift on Monday, the coming months are likely to see a devastating homelessness crisis unfold unless the government steps in to safeguard people’s homes. Some may even face sleeping on the streets as councils struggle to cope with the intense pressure on oversubscribed services.
“As we know from our many years of fighting homelessness, it is so much harder to get back on your feet without a safe home. When Parliament returns in September, the government must change the law to give judges the power to stop renters being evicted because of Covid-19. As well as ensuring councils have the mandate and resources to help anyone facing homelessness during the undeniably stormy months ahead.”