Rise in homelessness not result of our policies, says housing secretary

From The Guardian: Rising rough sleeping in Britain is not the result of government policy… the housing secretary, James Brokenshire, has claimed.

The number of people sleeping rough has more than doubled since 2010 to 4,751 according to the government’s own figures. The homelessness charity Crisis believes that this is a fivefold underestimate and that 24,000 people will be sleep on the streets, in cars and in tents. Sofa-surfers make up a further 68,000, according to Crisis.

But Brokenshire insisted the growing problem is not a political failure, even though charities which run hostels and advice lines believe that caps on housing benefit and welfare sanctions introduced as part of austerity policies have been key factors driving rises in homelessness every year since the Conservatives took office in 2010.

“I don’t see it in those terms,” Brokenshire said.

[…] Highly visible increases in tents in shop doorways in towns and cities and hidden rural homelessness mean this year’s government figures, taken during a census last month, are likely to show an eighth consecutive annual rise in homelessness in England.

[…] The prisons minister, Rory Stewart, also conceded that “far too many” inmates released after short sentences are struggling to find housing, with over a third of rough sleepers in London known to have been in jail.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]