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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Government stats

April 04 2014
Fewer people are asking for help with homelessness – and even fewer getting such help.

New government data shows that fewer people are asking for help with homelessness, but even fewer are also being granted such help.

A five per cent reduction in applications for help with homelessness has been recorded by local councils, who noted the drop from 1 October to 31 December 2013, comparing the result to that of the same period in 2012.

Unfortunately, the number of applications being accepted over the same period has also fallen by five per cent.

Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said: “The fact that fewer people are approaching their council for help is encouraging. However, with more than half of applications being turned away, we have to ask what happens to those who don’t get help.”

The National Housing Federation has spoken to a number of people who were turned away by their council. Amy, 24, from Daventry, explained how separation from her partner had left her and her four-year-old and eight-month-old dependent on their grandmother. On visiting her council, Amy was told there was nothing they could do to help as she had made herself homeless.

She said: “To get into private landlord property, the upfront fees were ú1,000 minimum for a one- bedroom flat. These people are meant to help.”

Amanda, 25, explained how her husband kicked her and their four children out. She too went back to her mother’s home. She says that years after putting her name on a council waiting list: “I’m still having to share a bedroom with four children, all boys aged six, five, two and one years old. I feel like the council are doing nothing to help.”

Help for homeless people is becoming increasing stretched, with a seven per cent rise seen in the use of temporary accommodation, a 44 per cent rise recorded in the use of private sector accommodation and a 10 per cent hike in the use of hostels.

Henderson added: “Although we recognise that councils have struggled to meet the demand, there needs to be suitable alternatives in place. If people are not supported to find housing, they may be forced into illegal lets, sofa-surfing or even onto the streets.”

The issue is one that people are increasingly facing up and down the country. Earlier this year, The Pavement reported that the Housing Regulator had asked Glasgow City Council to urgently address its lack of temporary housing after it emerged that from July to September last year 136 people were turned away homeless out of 200 who presented.