Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Stuck in the system...

June 03 2014
Almost a third of people ready to move on, cannot because of a lack of affordable accommodation

A recent report has revealed that almost a third of people living in homeless projects and ready to move on, are unable to because of a lack of affordable accommodation.

In many cases, the first step to getting on the housing ladder after being homeless is the homeless hostel. And love them or loathe them, they can help people to adjust to life before finding a house to rent so that they can support themselves.

However, research by Homeless Link found that 32 per cent of people living in hostels are unable to find anywhere to move on to.

What’s more, that leaves a a backlog of people desperate for supportive care. At present, there are 38,534 bed spaces in supported housing in England, and 72 per cent of projects have had to turn people away due to a lack of space.

The impact of such a shortage has been a rise in the number of people forced to sleep rough, with government figures indicating a five per cent rise over the past year and a shocking increase of 37 per cent since 2010.

As well as an increase in rough sleeping, the number of hostel places is decreasing. There are currently 1,104 fewer beds than last year, with the total number of bed spaces down by 12 per cent over the last four years. And last month, it emerged that a further 100 beds were threatened in London alone.

Esther, a single mum of 25, told The Pavement of her struggle to move on from supported accommodation. “I moved to my supported accommodation in 2011 and lived there for about three years,” she said.

While Esther is very pleased to have moved into her own place a few months ago, the lack of affordable housing meant that she was forced to move into a house that is over half an hour away from her son’s school. Twice a day she must take the 80-minute round-trip to the school and back.

“The council couldn’t find anywhere near my kid’s school,” she added. “Now [I have to spend so long travelling] I can't do anything during the day. Life is really hard for me.”

Paul Noblet, head of public affairs at Centrepoint, a charity which works primarily with homelessness among young people, has called the shortage of affordable accommodation a: "massive concern and simply must be addressed".

On the Homeless Link research, Noblet said some 9,000 young people are estimated to be unable to move on from hostels in England.

“After receiving help from charities like ours to tackle health problems, find work and learn valuable life-skills, young people again find themselves in limbo," he added. "Through no fault of their own, they are unwittingly blocking the hostel beds urgently needed by the most vulnerable."

Rick Henderson, the chief executive of Homeless Link, has called on the government to do more to help those in supportive care move into rented housing and free up bed space for those who require support.

"We need a real commitment from the government to build more homes and work with suppliers and landlords to prevent homeless people from being shut out of the housing market," he said.