Friday, 28 August 2015

Housing Crisis Figures From Squash Campaign #olsx #onn #housingcrisis #squatting #commons #protest #shelter

The housing crisis in England and Wales has continued to deteriorate since 2011, as exemplified by the ever increasing evictions, displacement and homelessness. The three years to 2012/13 saw an expansion of 27% in the total number of local authority assessment decisions for statutory homelessness, growing from 89,000 in 2009/10 to 113,000 in 2012/13, while households ‘accepted as homeless’ rose by 34%, from 40,000 to 52,000. Statutory homelessness in London has risen by 80% since 2009/10 and homeless placements in temporary accommodation have increased nationally by 24%.[1]

In the private rented sector, the ending of Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) has seen a sharp rise in evictions, producing 30% of all statutory homelessness acceptances in the first quarter of 2014/15. Social-renting tenants are being subjected to policies of dispersal and displacement, with 64% of the 38,000 tenant households who lost their home in 2014 being as a result of possession claims from councils and housing associations. Crisis has raised concerns about the “growing ‘business’ orientation of some housing associations, coupled with reductions in benefit entitlements, […] curtailing low income households’ access to social tenancies”. In 2013/14 numbers of people seen sleeping rough in London was up 64% since 2010/11 (from around 4,000 to 6,500), with the 2013 national total up 37% on its 2010 level. Rough sleepers of European origin have risen by 79%, as compared with the 56% increase in UK-origin counterparts, in part due to reductions in welfare benefits to Central and Eastern European (CEE) migrants.[2]

Those most affected by the changes to the welfare system, rising rents and homelessness are the young. Often referred to as “Generation Rent,” adults aged 21 to 38 years, who have not been able to get on the property ladder, now find themselves locked in to a future of ever-spiralling rents and diminishing social security. Changes to the Shared Accommodation Rate have reduced access to the private rented sector for 25-34 year-olds, while Citizens Advice caseload evidence shows a substantial rise in youth homelessness, with the number of 17-24 year-olds seeking help with housing up by 57% between 2007/08 and 2012/13[3]. Homeless Link shows the 70% of service users at accommodation projects in England were men, and 53% Young People (16-24)[4]. Homeless charity Crisis has shown that squatting is a common response to homelessness: their report, “Squatting: a Homelessness Issue,”[5] demonstrates that 40% of single homeless people squat “as a direct response to homelessness”. With nearly one million buildings standing empty across the UK, of which 200,000 are long-term empty[6], with property speculation and foreign investment fuelling upward rental and purchase prices, squatting is the only alternative to street homelessness for increasing numbers.  

[1] Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Hal Pawson, Glen Bramley, Steve Wilcox and Beth Watts; “The homelessness monitor: England 2015”; Crisis, February 2015, (accessed 9 April 2015)
[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid
[4] “Support for Single Homeless People in England: Annual Review 2014”, Homeless Link, 24th April 2014;
 (accessed 9 April 2015)
[5] Reeve, K., “Squatting: a Homelessness issue”, Crisis, 2011, (accessed 9 April 2015)

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