Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

More than a million families on social housing waiting lists

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More than a million families on social housing waiting lists

13th June 2018
More than 1 million families are stuck on waiting lists for social housing in England as the number of council homes in Britain hits a record low.

This week figures released by Shelter show that a total of 1.15 million households were on waiting lists for housing last year. However with only 290,000 homes made available, a national shortfall of more than 800,000 homes exists. Almost two-thirds (65%) of families had been on lists for more than a year, while 27% had been waiting for more than five years.

The number of council homes sold under Right-to-Buy has increased five-fold in the past six years, and the building of new social housing has not kept up with demand, adding to the current housing crisis.

Six London authorities were among the top 10 councils with the biggest shortfall; in Newham a staggering 25,729 households were on the waiting list last year, with only 588 social homes available. The borough also has the highest levels of homelessness in the UK, with 1 in 25 without a home.

Council housing is crucial in order to prevent and support people experiencing homelessness. Private rented accommodation can prove difficult to access for those without a home, with 42% of homeless people reporting that they had experienced landlords and letting agents refusing to let properties to them.

The loss of a private tenancy is also now the number one cause of homelessness in London, having overtaken reasons including relationship breakdown and family or friends being unwilling or unable to accommodate. More than 100 tenants a day are being evicted from their homes, with the increased cost of renting a property and long-term freezes to housing benefit expected to be key factors.

“The fallout from the lack of social housing is particularly felt by those in the homelessness sector, and we are experiencing increased demand for our services each year.

“Helping residents move into sustainable independent living after Caritas Anchor House is a critical component of our work, so we hope to see more readily available social housing being pledged and built in the aftermath of these shocking figures,” said Amanda Dubarry, Chief Executive of Caritas Anchor House.

Last year, Caritas Anchor House provided a home to 262 homeless people, of which 91 moved on into independent living. It is no surprise that only 22% of those moved into local authority housing, yet, we’re pleased to have built fantastic relationships with reputable private landlords in the local area, and as such, nearly 50% of residents were able to move into suitable and affordable privately rented homes.

Not only to we support residents to seek and secure suitable accommodation, it’s also vital that we help to make sure their living independently is sustainable. Therefore, we provide opportunities to develop self-care and life skills, tenancy sustainment training, support to manage personal finances and set up household bills. We also recently opened 25 move-on flats on-site, designed to act as a stepping stone between our supported housing and independent accommodation the community.

We’re pleased to report that our average length of stay is 9.6 months, meaning we’re able to help more people in need to leave homelessness behind and start their next chapter.

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