There was a fall in the number of single households that needed support from councils, down almost nine per cent on April to June 2020, partly due to impact of the Everyone In scheme.
However, there was a significant year-on-year increase in households with children that needed support, up by a third to 20,850.
The impact of Covid could still be felt in the most common reason given for homelessness. Almost 10,000 households needed support from local authorities after being unable to stay with family or friends..
But those households in rented accommodation saw the impacts of the pandemic first-hand. The statistics show a 98 per cent increase in the number of households asking councils for help as landlords were wishing to sell or re-let their property.
Matt Downie, director of policy and external affairs at Crisis, said: “These figures show the first signs of what we feared – once emergency measures were lifted, households began to feel the full force of the financial pressures of the pandemic and we’re now seeing a surge in people experiencing homelessness.”
The Westminster government has announced measures to prevent homelessness in recent days, unveiling a £65m support package for vulnerable renters who have racked up rent arrears during the pandemic. Chancellor Rishi Sunak also announced £640m of annual funding to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping at the Budget.
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However, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported last week that almost one million renters are in arrears.
Lord Bird has warned more support will be necessary to prevent surging homelessness this winter. The Big Issue has launched the Stop Mass Homelessness campaign urging a focus on helping renters with £360m in rent arrears as well as calling for an end to no-fault evictions.
The campaign is asking for more support to help people transition into jobs and training in sustainable industries too.
Bird will debate the issue with peers in the Lords on Thursday.
“It is vital that they are taking preventative action to ensure people will not be left homeless this winter,” added Bird. “The end of furlough and the lift of the eviction ban have posed a very grave danger to everyday families and individuals who are struggling to make ends meet as a result of Covid-19 poverty.
“However, further action must be taken if we are to prevent a mass homelessness crisis.. The cost of fully paying off rent arrears is substantially less than the cost of letting someone slip into homelessness. So, that is why I am urging the government today to take action and stop mass homelessness.”
Support The Big Issue’s Stop Mass Homelessness campaign by signing our petition, becoming a community champion or writing to your MP or local council to ask for their support. Head here for details on how to get involved.