No hiding from homelessness
People are noticing that there are more people sleeping rough in Plymouth and many other places. What’s less visible is the far larger number of homeless single people and families who are given temporary accommodation. Most areas will provide ‘temp’ so as to have some offer for people who present to councils and services needing somewhere to live. Local authorities, charities and others are always working frantically to provide such places.
What they (we) often can’t provide is settled housing, accommodation where people can have tenancies and make the place they live their home. (They can’t necessarily provide enough temp, either, such is the scale of the housing crisis.)
Most people who rent will either have tenancies for social housing or for private rented. In both cases, for much of England, demand currently out-strips supply. There’s no doubt that we need far more affordable accommodation. Currently, there’s too much competition for social housing; and for private rented, where rents are more directly set by ‘the market’, they rise when there’s more demand, as there is right now.
Not only that but higher interest rates mean that property owners with mortgages pay more for them, pushing up their costs and therefore rent levels. That’s at a time when property prices and rents are already at record high amounts.
So we are seeing more people / families become homeless, more become trapped in temporary accommodation (as there’s nowhere affordable for them to move on to) and more people at risk of homelessness as they struggle to pay rent and bills.
If that sounds bleak, it is better to acknowledge problems than hide from them. Only then can we take steps to address them. Rents are too high and so are bills. Either they should be brought down (eg by having more housing and / or subsidies) or people’s incomes need to significantly rise to cope with them. Since there’s too little housing overall, a combination of both makes most sense.
Unless that’s done, led by central government, it’s hard to see that things will improve. More likely, the opposite.
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