Forty-four percent of homeless families trapped in temporary accommodation in the South East are actually working, according to new research released by Shelter’s social housing commission.
Based on freedom of information requests, the exclusive analysis shows that more than 2,350 families in the region are holding down a job despite having nowhere stable to live. This has doubled since 2013 when fewer than 1,200 families were homeless and working.
This trend in ‘working homelessness’ is being driven by a combination of high private rents, the on-going freeze on housing benefit and a chronic lack of social homes.
High housing costs are a major area of concern for many working families right across the country, particularly those in low-paid, part-time or contract jobs. In fact, losing a tenancy is now the single biggest cause of homelessness – accounting for 27% of all households accepted as homeless in the last year.
With hundreds of thousands of working families in England struggling to keep a roof over their heads, the charity’s commission – the Big Conversation – will make bold recommendations on the role social housing needs to play in easing the housing crisis.
Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, said: “It’s disgraceful that even when families are working every hour they can, they’re still forced to live through the grim reality of homelessness.
“In many cases, these are parents who work all day or night before returning to a cramped hostel or B&B where their whole family is forced to share a room. A room with no space for normal family life like cooking, playing or doing homework.”
“We cannot allow struggling families to slip through the cracks created by our housing crisis – the government must urgently come up with a new plan for social housing that delivers the genuinely affordable homes we desperately need. Our commission on the future of social housing will be calling for bold solutions, because more of the same is simply not good enough”