Homelessness figures are on the rise, but how much worse could they get, asks Stuart Macdonald
The number of people accepted by English local authorities as homeless and in priority need of housing - the key category - is on the rise. Figures due out yesterday proved this was the case for the third consecutive quarter.
Charities and support services are all warning that this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’, but it is worth remembering that, although bad, the current figures are nowhere near as high as the 35,770 people for the corresponding quarter in 2003 - a year when the total hit 135,590.
So are we creeping towards these levels again? Homelessness charities say it is very difficult to tell due to the uncertain economic climate. They are resigned to the fact that it will worsen and are preparing accordingly, but can say no more than that.
As we report this week, anecdotal evidence suggests a rise in rough sleeping in London and large numbers of people sleeping on night buses. The signs are not good.
Stuart Macdonald is editor of Inside Housing