Leeds and Wakefield homelessness ‘crisis’

Posed by model. PIC:  Ian Robinson
Posed by model. PIC: Ian Robinson
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ALMOST 150 families were living in temporary accommodation in Leeds and Wakefield due to the threat of homelessness in March - a 40 per cent rise on a year earlier.

Government figures show almost 65,000 households across England were living in temporary accommodation provided by councils at the end of March - the highest number since 2008.

Charities said high rents and cuts to housing benefits were largely to blame.

Charities said high rents and cuts to housing benefits were largely to blame.

Housing charities have warned the country is “sleepwalking into a homelessness crisis”, as it revealed a further 2,570 families were living in emergency B&B accommodation - a rise of 35 per cent.

Both Leeds and Wakefield have seen a rise in the number of households in temporary accommodation.

In Leeds, the number went from 14 in March last year to 39 just 12 months later, while in Wakefield, it went from 90 to 107. Antony Sadler, service director for communities at Wakefield Council, which had the second highest number of households in temporary accommodation in Yorkshire, said its focus was on preventing homelessness. He added: “For the cases where homelessness cannot be prevented and the Council accepts a duty to provide accommodation, we will provide good quality, furnished, accommodation with support.”

Jon Sparkes, the chief executive of Crisis, said: “Clearly something is going badly wrong with our private rented sector. England is sleepwalking into a homelessness crisis, and we’ve yet to hear what our new Government intends to do about it.”

A Government spokesman said that since 2010, it had made over £500m available to local authorities and the voluntary sector to support the most vulnerable in society