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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Homelessness among old people soars by 39%

The Independent publishes more disturbing statistics about homelessness when they reveal that the number of older people falling into homelessness has surged in recent years as benefit cuts leave them struggling to make ends meet.

They say that official data shows that there has been a 39 per cent rise in people over 60 approaching the authorities because they are in need of housing by local councils over the last five years, with the figure increasing from 1,800 in 2012-13 to 2,500 in 2017-18:

The new figures, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show that Northern Ireland has also seen a marked increase (30 per cent) in the number of older households presenting as homeless, from 1,875 to 2,445 during the same period.

Scotland has seen a small increase of 9 per cent, with the figure increasing from 1,278 to 1,391.

Campaigners said the rise was in large part because the level of local housing allowance and other benefits were not keeping up with rent increases, as well as the lack of affordable housing.

As the director of Age UK says, the main reason for this increase is that local housing allowance and benefit levels are not keeping up with rent increases, meaning some older people are struggling to make ends meet.

There is a clear need to increase the supply of social housing at affordable rents to deal with this crisis. Governments in all nations need to take note.
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