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Shelter warns of leap in working homeless as families struggle

The number of working homeless has nearly doubled since Shelter last looked at the figures in 2013. There are now about 33,000 “working homeless” – or 55% of all households in temporary accommodation – compared with 19,000 in 2013, it estimates.

The charity blamed the 73% increase on high private-sector rents, the ongoing freeze in housing benefit, unstable tenancies and the shortage of social housing.

The highest proportion of homeless working households in temporary housing was in London (60%); followed by the east of England (44%); and the south-east (44%). The lowest was Yorkshire and the Humber (9%). The north-east is the only region where the proportion of working homeless has decreased since 2013.

The biggest increases in homeless working families between 2013 and 2017 were seen in the east Midlands (167%); the north-west (89%); and the West Midlands (46%), reflecting the growth of the housing crisis beyond traditional high-rent areas such as London.

Since 2010, the overall number of homeless people in temporary accommodation in England has grown by 61%. Council spending on this form of housing reached £845m in 2016. Last year a cross-party group of MPs said homelessness in England was a “national crisis”.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: “Everyone deserves a safe and decent place to live and we are providing more than £1.2bn so all those left homeless get the support they need.

“Councils have a duty to provide suitable temporary accommodation to those who need it, and families with children get priority. So families can get a permanent home, we are investing £9bn in affordable properties, including £2bn for social rent housing.” More

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