Charitys warn homless Crisis Looms over uk

by Super User
Lack of affordable housing and cuts to housing benefit may lead to an explosion in crisis calls this winter. Homeless charity Shelter says it expects to see a four fold increase in the number of crisis calls this Christmas, up from one every 22 seconds last year. New research from the charity shows that in 2016, its helpline received over 90,000 calls in the two months leading up to Christmas.More than 500 of those were made across Christmas Eve and Christmas Day alone. Shelter CEO Polly Neate told Sky News a "crippling combination" of reasons is behind the rise. "The factors at the moment are firstly just the dire lack of affordable housing, and by affordable I mean affordable to rent for people on low incomes," she said. "The second thing is the cuts to housing benefit, and that is meaning there's no help now for people who simply can't afford to pay their rent." The charity also blames problems with the Government's new benefit system Universal Credit for creating delays which lead to people getting into rent arrears. Figures show calls to Shelter's helpline increased by 25% over the past year. The Government announced new housing measures in last week's Budget in a bid to tackle the issue, including changes to stamp duty and the building of more homes. John- not his real name - was placed into emergency accommodation in London in 2015 after struggling to afford private rental costs in the capital. Nearly four years on Peter, his wife and two children under five remain in the studio apartment. He told Santa CCTV it's a difficult time in the run up to Christmas. "For me it's been really hard, I've always said it's easier for me to suffer some hardship than them [his family]. For a long time we've been watching our budgets - there was no TV, microwave, toaster etc. "Most of the time we are all four sharing the same bed so that places pressure on us as a family and also on my relationship with my wife." Figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show 4,134 people slept rough in England in 2016, a 16% increase on the previous year and a sixth consecutive yearly rise. But the charity Crisis says the number is actually more than double at 9,100 - and warns of the so-called "hidden homeless" including more than 68,000 sofa-surfing and thousands living in insecure or inadequate accommodation.

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