Startling homelessness figures revealed for Sheffield
Stark new figures have shown that more than 500 Sheffield families required council support for homelessness in the run up to last Christmas.
Housing charity Shelter has warned that councils are struggling to cope with the volume of people needing support amid a national "housing emergency.”
Following the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act in 2017, councils in England must provide support to eligible homeless households, as well as those at risk of becoming homeless in the next 56 days.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows there were 564 households due support after applying for help from Sheffield City Council between October and December, including 27 families with children.
Of these, 178, or 32 percent, were at risk of homelessness, meaning the council had to work with them to prevent them losing their home.
The remaining 386 were already homeless, in which case the council has to help them secure accommodation for a period of at least six months.
Across England, more than 61,000 households were owed a duty under the act over the three months to December – more than 20,000 of them families with children.
Chief executive of Shelter, Polly Neate, said the figures painted a bleak picture of the housing landscape in England.
"It’s little wonder that local councils are finding it difficult to cope with the sheer volume of people turning to them for help," she said.
"Beyond those sleeping rough on our streets, tens of thousands of homeless families are living in temporary accommodation, including emergency B and B’s and hostels.
"Our advisers see first-hand the unbearable anguish of parents who can’t tell their children when they’ll have a place to call home.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Recent figures show encouraging signs that the Homelessness Reduction Act is making a real difference in providing vulnerable people with the support they need, and at an earlier stage.
“But we know there is more to do, which is why we’re investing £1.2bn to tackle homelessness, and empowering councils to build more council homes to ensure everyone has a safe and secure home to call their own.” Ms Neate said chronic lack of social homes and housing benefit freeze added to the crisis.