The latest National Statistics on Statutory Homelessness for England show that the number of homeless families and the number in temporary accommodation have stopped falling, and possibly started rising, though it is too early to say whether this is a trend.
Between the third quarter of 2010 and the same period in 2011 there was a 6% rise in the number of homeless households. There was a large increase in the number of families in bed and breakfast accommodation – up from 2,660 to 3,370 compared to the same quarter last year.
Overall use of temporary accommodation was down on last year, but up on the previous quarter, which the authors of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s release note “brings the end to the long- term downward trend in the number of households in temporary accommodation, with seasonally-adjusted figures falling in each successive quarter since the peak in 2004.”
If you look at the trends in homelessness, the picture is even more worrying than the headline figures I began with. Here’s the seasonally unadjusted figures for households in England who meet the criteria to qualify for support from their local council:
And here’s a chart for for households in England in temporary accommodation:
And here is the picture for bed and breakfast accommodation:
There’s enough of a common pattern for us to be concerned. The very least we can say is that the improvements that were seen until well into the recession have come to an end, and the overall homelessness and B&B figures are headed in the wrong direction.