More houses needed to meet homelessness target
The number of homeless households in temporary accommodation is continuing to rise despite the government's pledge to halve the number by 2010.
Statistics published this week by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister showed that the number of households in temporary accommodation has remained above 100,000. The number had risen to 101,020 at the end of September this year from 100,970 at the end of June.
The figures come just a few months after Inside Housing revealed that the ODPM had predicted that the 2010 target of 40,000 was likely to be missed by tens of thousands of households (9 September).
But the number of households accepted as homeless has fallen. A total of 24,800 households were accepted as homeless and in priority need in the three months to the end of September, 23 per cent lower than in the same period in 2004, and 9 per cent lower than the last quarter.
Alison Gelder, head of external affairs at homelessness charity Housing Justice, said the government needed to tackle the use of temporary accommodation as a priority if it was to reach its target.
'We think that it's just appalling that the number hasn't gone down,' she said. 'They need to really pull their finger out and build some houses quickly.'
Ms Gelder said the charity was also sceptical about the reasons for the reduction in the number of homeless acceptances. 'We have got evidence from our housing advice around the country that people are being discouraged from making or persevering with their acceptances,' she said.
The statistics come as some homelessness organisations are refocusing their efforts away from frontline service provision.
Crisis has expanded its role to focus on learning and skills. It is running a pilot programme of new courses for its clients.
Chief executive Shaks Ghosh said the organisation had refocused to fit the state of the homelessness sector. 'As an organisation we have a choice about whether we want to do grotty hostels or whether we want to really add value where we can and help people to rebuild their lives,' she said.
It follows Novas, which has devolved control of many of its projects (Inside Housing, 21 October) and received City and Guilds accreditation for its training programmes.