Number of rough sleepers on the rise

York Press: Professor Steve Wilcox Professor Steve Wilcox

YOUNG people will bear the brunt of rising homelessness in the ongoing economic downturn, according to new research from the University of York.

Figures published by the Homelessness Monitor, a five-year joint project between York and Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, show more people are becoming homeless in England as the impacts of cuts to housing benefit start to bite against the backdrop of recession.

Professor Steve Wilcox, from York’s Centre for Housing Policy (CHP), played a key role in the research.

He said: “This report shows the growing impact of the continuing economic downturn and austerity measures on low income households in the housing market. The greatest concerns are about the impact of welfare reforms on both younger people, and larger families.”

Among some of the shock figures released are that in England the number of people sleeping rough has risen 23 per cent over the past year.

Temporary accommodation placements have also increased, with B&B hotel placements almost doubling over the past two years, and an even greater rise for families with children.

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, who led the research, said: “When we put all the evidence together for the Homelessness Monitor the conclusion was clear: the strain of the economic downturn, combined with radical welfare cuts and growing housing market pressures, means increasing numbers of people are going to become homeless.

“As the buffers that have traditionally saved people from homelessness are dismantled we expect to see this increase accelerate – particularly with families and younger people who are being hardest hit.”

This is the second year of the study to be published by homelessness charity Crisis. The charity’s chairman, Leslie Morphy said: “The research is clear; young people are bearing a disproportionate burden of the cuts, yet the Coalition seems set to increase the pressure by abolishing housing benefit for under-25s.”

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