Report says number of homeless in England up significantly

Dec. 14, 2013 at 1:57 AM
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LONDON, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The number of people sleeping on the street in England or living in temporary emergency housing has jumped recently, a report by two charities said Friday.

Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation released their annual "state of the nation" report, the Independent reported. The report found a 6 percent increase in people with no homes while the number in temporary shelter was up 10 percent.

The situation was even worse in London, where the number of homeless on the street was found to be up 13 percent.

The report suggested cuts in the Welfare Reform Act 2012 could be responsible for the increase. It pointed to the "bedroom tax," a penalty imposed on those getting housing benefits for unoccupied bedrooms in their homes.

"We keep hearing that the economy is on the mend," Leslie Morphy, the head of Crisis, said. "Yet as we watch our GDP figures slowly rise, cuts to housing benefit and woefully inadequate house building will keep pushing up homelessness. Shamefully, it is the poorest and most vulnerable that are bearing the brunt."

The Department of Work and Pensions released a statement saying reforms pushed by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government are "fixing the benefits system." The statement said there is no evidence changes in the 2012 law have contributed to homelessness.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said homelessness is lower than it has been for most of the past 30 years.

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