Today (Monday, 22nd November), The Big Issue has revealed that if the Government does not take action to address the full £360 million in rent arrears now it could cost them an extra £2,234,025,000 on top of that later.
The Big Issue’s Stop Mass Homelessness (SMASSH) campaign is calling on the Government to address the £360 million in rent arrears which was accrued during the pandemic, arguing this could save them over £2 billion in the future.
Utilising a study published in 2016 from the charity Crisis called ‘Better than Cure?’, The Big Issue has worked out it costs the Government £9,266 for every person made homeless, whereas the price of preventing homelessness is only £2,263.
The Big Issue used research from Citizens Advice showing that half a million renters went into arrears during the pandemic, resulting in £360 million in rent debt, alongside data from a YouGov poll run by StepChange, which saw 225,000 people out of the half a million, tell the debt charity they were “probably” or “likely” to lose their homes.
This means, for each of the 225,000 renters at risk of homelessness, preventing this scenario could save an eye-watering £2.6 billion – around £2.2bn more than paying the £360m in arrears off now.
The Big Issue launched the Stop Mass Homelessness campaign earlier this summer, warning of a pending homelessness crisis. Since then, many of the vital protections brought in by the Government during the pandemic have been stopped.