Being ‘accepted’ as homeless is not the same as rough sleeping. Instead, it refers to the households for whom a council accepts a statutory responsibility to help find accommodation. More often than not, this is because they are about to lose their homes or are currently living somewhere unsuitable.
Figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show a 14 per cent rise in homelessness nationally, which means that homelessness in London is 22 per cent higher than the national average. It emerged that Birmingham has the most homeless households, but Waltham Forest has the highest proportion in the country – here, 2.55 out of every 1000 households is accepted as homeless.
According to official figures, homelessness had been falling in the UK since 2003, but was on the rise again from 2010. And within the last 12 months, the number of homeless households doubled across seven London boroughs. Hounslow alone saw a 245 per cent increase to 1.39 in every 1000 households.
The news comes hot on the heels of a report showing that rough sleeping has increased by a fifth nationally. In terms of London, charity CHAIN recorded 3975 people sleeping rough in London in 2010/11, an increase of 8 per cent on 2009/10 and up more than 1000 since 2005/2006.