Homelessness 'rising twice as fast among ethnic minorities'

20,000 people from ethnic minorities were declared homeless in 2015

Jon Stone
Friday 15 April 2016 19:53 BST
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Ethnic minorities have been disproportionately hit as homelessness rises
Ethnic minorities have been disproportionately hit as homelessness rises

A sharp rise in homelessness since David Cameron came to power has been driven by even steeper increases in people from ethnic minorities with nowhere to live.

Official data shows that the number of those people classified as “black and minority ethnic” (BAME) accepted as homeless by councils has risen by 63 per cent since 2010 – around twice as high as the 33 per cent increase across all ethnic groups.

In total 19,260 people from ethnic minorities were declared homeless by local authorities in 2015 – up from 11,790 in 2010.

Labour, which produced the analysis, said the figures were being driven by welfare cuts and a lack of affordable housing exacerbated by the government policy.

Some areas of the country, notably the capital, are facing an acute housing shortage - while changes to housing benefit have put more homes out of reach of people on low incomes.

In December the Independent reported a warning from social housing providers that the Government's new Universal Credit scheme was throwing 90 per cent of social tenants into rent arrears thanks to a deliberate waiting period before a benefits claim comes through.

“These shocking figures expose how the crisis of spiralling homelessness is hitting some groups particularly hard," said John Healey, shadow minister for housing.

“Six years of failure on housing have resulted in the number of people sleeping rough on our streets doubling and thousands more people finding themselves without a home.

“Homelessness isn’t inevitable. It’s a direct result of failure to provide affordable homes and deep cuts to housing support. Without a change of course, six years of failure are set to become ten.

“For every person behind these figures there are personal stories of hardship, families falling apart and children growing up without a stable home.

John Healey, the shadow housing minister, said said Government policy had contributed to the rise (Getty )
John Healey, the shadow housing minister, said said Government policy had contributed to the rise (Getty ) (Getty)

“These statistics are just the tip of the iceberg. But they are an indictment of Conservative housing policy and its impact on those who are most vulnerable.”

A Conservative spokesperson said: “Homelessness among people from ethnic minority backgrounds has actually decreased by 35 per cent since Labour’s homelessness peak in 2003.

“But we are clear that one person without a home is one to many which is why this Government has protected and maintained homelessness prevention funding and is committed to work with the sector to do all we can to prevent homelessness.”

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