Skip to main content

People Registered as Homeless

Volume 720: debated on Monday 17 October 2022

The total number of people who have been homeless or threatened with homelessness in the last year is 4% lower than pre-covid-19 levels. That shows that our unprecedented action to protect households during the pandemic has worked, as does the fact that rough sleeping levels are now at an eight-year low.

The data that I have is very different. The cost of living crisis is expected to get worse in the coming months, there was an 11% increase in homelessness between 2021 and 2022, and the number of evictions peaked at nearly 5,000 between April and June this year, up nearly 30% on the previous quarter. What commitments will the Minister give today to ensure that hundreds of thousands of people do not risk losing their homes this winter?

The Government understand the pressures that people are facing as a result of the cost of living, and we have undertaken a range of measures to help them with, in particular, their energy bills. That is in addition to the more than £37 billion of cost of living support for families across the United Kingdom that we announced earlier this year.

The most egregious form of homelessness is rough sleeping, which is why I was so delighted that in September this year, thanks to the incredible hard work of Penny Hobman, Richard Chapman and Stephanie Larnder, we were able to publish this Government’s strategy to end rough sleeping. Will the Ministers commit themselves to delivering on that strategy?

I am grateful for the opportunity to pay fulsome tribute to my hard-working predecessor for his incredible work in not just getting the strategy over the line, but agreeing the £2 billion of funding that will support the implementation of that strategy over the next three years. I am delighted to be carrying on his great work.

I know that today’s focus is on heating homes, but for far too many people it is on saving their homes. Nearly 20,000 households have been put at risk of homelessness by no-fault evictions in the past year, a rise of 121%, while the Government dither. Mortgages are soaring, rents are rising, homelessness is increasing, and 1,300 Ukrainian refugee households, many with children, are homeless because of the Department’s failure to act on repeated warnings. The Chartered Institute of Housing says that without action this Government will break their promise to end rough sleeping by 2024. Will the new Minister tell us whether they are sticking to that pledge, or will he tell us the truth—that the homelessness crisis will not be fixed by increasing bankers’ bonuses, but will only be fixed by a change of Government?

We remain absolutely committed to our manifesto commitment to end rough sleeping. According to the latest official statistics, published in February 2020, the number of people sleeping rough is at an eight-year low and has almost halved since 2017. Rough sleeping has now decreased in every region of England. We are committed to continuing the great work of my predecessor and implementing the “Ending rough sleeping for good” strategy, and, as I said earlier, there is £2 billion of funding for the next three years.