Charity has received 175,000 inquiries in the past 12 months, up 10 per cent in the previous year. Emily Dugan reports
The scale of the nation's homelessness crisis is laid bare in figures published exclusively in The Independent today which show that the numbers calling the housing charity Shelter for help is at an all-time high of almost 175,000 calls in the last year, up 10 per cent on the previous year.
Visits to the advice pages of the charity’s website are also up more than 20 per cent, with almost 400,000 people seeking help online.
The latest Government figures show statutory homelessness is up 6 per cent, while the number of households living in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs is at 56,0000, up 9 per cent on last year.
Some 80,000 children are expected to spend Christmas without a proper home.
Helpline staff believe the impact of welfare reforms – including the benefit cap, the ‘bedroom tax’ and increasingly punitive benefit sanctions – could be one the reasons behind the marked rise in calls for help. The continued fallout from the recession, the rise of the cost of living and an apparent increase in rogue landlords as the rental market grows have also contributed.