The Homelessness Monitor: Great Britain, a new study by the homeless charity Crisis and headed by Heriot-Watt University, has issued a grave warning. The forecast has increased from 227,000 in 2020, a 32% increase, to 300,000 households on any one night in 2023, with many individuals potentially facing the worst kind of homelessness.
There are unmistakable signs that rising living expenses and a sharp drop in affordable housing are making more people homeless. Recent data from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) from October 2022 demonstrate a dramatic increase in rough sleeping in London, with 3,628 people doing so between July and September 2022. Comparing this to the same time last year, there has been a 24% increase. The fact that the majority of the increase—1,844 additional street residents—is being caused by persons sleeping rough for the first time is particularly alarming.
The Government is being urged by Crisis to recognise the gravity of the problem and act to enhance housing assistance so that it meets the actual cost of rent. Housing benefits are needed by 1.7 million private renters, or 2 in 5, to pay their rent, but since early 2020, the amount of housing benefits recipients get has been capped and is based on data from 2018–19. Rents are growing at their quickest rate in 16 years, and because of the shortfall with actual living expenses, tens of thousands of the poorest households run the risk of being homeless.
Crisis is urging the public to carry on with their charity activities and donate what they can afford this Christmas since the homelessness crisis is predicted to get worse in 2023.