Shock as homelessness figures in Thurrock rise by 153%!
Date posted: 01-08-2012
HOMELESSNESS in Thurrock has rocketed by a shocking 153 per cent in the last three years.
The number has risen 68% in the last year, compared to both the national and East of England average which have increased by 13% and 24% respectively.
Figures released today show the number of “households accepted as priority homeless” in Thurrock.
In 2009-10 there were 71 households homeless in Thurrock. That rose to 107 in 2010-11 and has ballooned even further to 180 in the last year.
But these figures may not include “sofa surfers” or people who are living on the street and have not contacted anyone for help.
These figures compare with Southend that saw rises from 67 in 2009-10 to 80 in 2010-11 and then 87 in 2011-12.
Basildon’s figures are 71 in 2009-10, 107 in 2010-11 and now 180 in 2011-12.
Prospective parliamentary candidate for Thurrock (Labour), Polly Billington said: “These are very worrying figures but I’m afraid they’re not a surprise.
“This is what happens in a recession, with rising living costs for everyone and a government cutting back on building affordable homes.
“On top of that the amount of support for housing costs has been slashed back,’leaving many people in London unable to afford the rent and putting extra pressure on surrounding areas like Thurrock.
“The government didn’t think about the consequences for communities like Thurrock, or for the families seeking somewhere affordable to live, who find – with a shock – that rents are higher here than they expected.”
A spokesperson for Thurrock Council said: “Official Government homelessness statistics for 2011-12 for the East of England area show that Thurrock accepted fewer households as homeless per thousand than some other Councils. This included both Colchester and Basildon, a neighbouring authority. During 2011/12 Thurrock accepted 2.81 households as homeless per thousand and Basildon accepted 3.45 households per thousand.
We continue to see an increase in the number of households approaching the council for help who are either threatened with homelessness as a result of difficulties in meeting rent and mortgage costs and high living costs. This is an increasing trend both nationally and specifically in areas bordering London with its extremely high housing costs.
The council is currently investing resources in developing its work in the private rented sector where a lot of homeless cases originate. We will continue to seek to prevent tenancies failing and work with private landlords to find alternative private rented accommodation.
The research was carried out by data analysers, SSentiff Intelligence.
Managing director of SSentif Judy Aldred: “Whilst these figures are perhaps not surprising given the state of the economy, some of the results for specific councils are quite shocking.
“By analysing the data at council level we were able to highlight some areas that are showing much greater increases than the national averge.
“We were also able to cross reference the data with spending on homelessness which dropped in England from £213.7m to £199.8m between 2009/10 and 2010/11. In Birmingham, where homelessness increased 25% from 09/10 to 10/11, spending dropped from £7.8m to £5.5m (29%).”
Ministers said the figures were “narrow and misleading” with homelessness now lower than for 28 of the last 30 years.
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said:”We have maintained funding for homelessness grants at 2010-11 levels with £400m over the next four years, and on top of that we announced an additional £70m investment over the last year.”