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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Hidden homelessness could be 10 times worse than official data, says new report

Written by Henry Vaughan

Hidden homelessness could be almost 10 times worse than official figures suggest with an estimated 51,500 people living in bed and breakfasts (B&Bs), according to a new report.

Homeless charity Justlife warns households are living in "modern-day slums" after slipping through the cracks in the system.

The organisation says the number of people living in unsupported temporary housing is underestimated by Government statistics, which only record those placed in official accommodation.

It's Lifting the Lid on Hidden Homelessness: A New Analysis report estimates the B&B population was at least 51,500 in the year 2015 to 2016.

It quotes Government figures showing the average number of official B&B placements by local authorities was 5,870 in the same period.

Justlife reached its estimate using data gathered from freedom of information requests to local authorities, along with other information from the Rural and Urban Classification for Local Authority Districts (RUCLAD).

Christa Maciver, the author of the report, said: "We can no longer ignore the tens of thousands of people stuck homeless, hidden and ignored in our cities.

"This report shows there is so much we don't know and that we really need to be calculating homelessness more accurately.

"Very few seem to care about the vulnerable people who end up in B&Bs, hostels and guesthouses.

"Once they are there they are forgotten and it's almost like we forget they are people."

One B&B resident, referred to as Malcolm, told of his experience of living in temporary accommodation for 18 months.

He said: "I'm totally depressed living there. You can't have anything nice. Things just go missing.

"You see, there aren't working locks on all the doors. In my room there are bare wires hanging out and I have no light.

"I also feel quite vulnerable because anyone can get in or is let in and it gets me down."

Justlife is calling for more accurate Government data.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Yui Mok / PA Wire.