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7 May, 2020 Open access

Almost half a million households in private rented sector at risk of homelessness once temporary suspension of eviction proceedings is lifted, councils warn

Those most at risk include more than 100,000 lone parents and around 100,000 young people under 25, says District Councils’ Network

Almost half a million households in the private rented sector are at risk of becoming homeless once the temporary suspension of evictions proceedings is lifted, according to the District Councils’ Network.

New analysis from the Network - that represents 191 councils with responsibility for tackling homelessness - reveals that there are 486,242 households paying more than half of their income on private rented housing, which, the Network warns, makes them most at risk of homelessness as incomes fall during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and when the suspension of housing possession proceedings that commenced on 27 March 2020 is lifted.

Within this group, the Network says that it has particular concerns in relation to -

Calling on the government to take action now to protect the most vulnerable and to prevent a homelessness peak in the months ahead, the Network recommends the government commits to -

Commenting on the findings, District Councils’ Network spokesperson Councillor Giles Archibald said -

‘Many families were already struggling to keep a roof over their heads before the coronavirus struck, including people now on the frontline beating this crisis, lone parents, low earners and young people.

We have grave concerns that the huge impact on jobs and incomes could send many of these half a million families over the edge and into homelessness in the coming months, particularly those struggling to pay their rent in the private rented sector.

Councils, landlords, charities and other partners are all working hard now to avoid people becoming homeless, however we are in unprecedented times and have grave concerns for the months ahead.

The Government has already rightly acted to support businesses and residents, but to avert a huge rise in homelessness it must now put the housing crisis at the centre of its exit strategy and recovery effort to support people as the scale of the economic impact becomes clearer.’

For more information, see Coronavirus: half a million on brink of homelessness due to pandemic, councils warn from the District Councils’ Network website.