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More older people are seeking help for homelessness, ONS figures reveal

THE number of older people seeking help for homelessness in England has significantly risen since 2012, figures revealed yesterday.

England has had a 39 per cent increase in the number of main housing duty acceptances for those aged over 60.

This went from 1,800 in 2012-13 to 2,500 in 2017-18, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

Scotland has had a smaller increase in older homelessness applicants, at 9 per cent in the same period.

Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams said: “It’s terrible to think of any older person having nowhere to call home, but homelessness among older people is on the rise.

“Local housing allowance and benefit levels are not keeping up with rent increases, meaning some older people are struggling to make ends meet.

“Unless more decent affordable housing becomes available, such as social or supported housing, we fear that more vulnerable older people will become homeless.”

Ms Abrahams urged the government to honour their commitment to abolish no-fault evictions in order to reduce the number of older people plunged into homelessness.

The figures follow government data showing that the number of households living in temporary accommodation in England is at its highest level in more than a decade.

Local Government Association housing spokesman David Renard said that the rise was due to a lack of affordable housing, which has left many councils struggling to cope with a rising number of people coming to them for help.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said that the government has made “the most ambitious change” to homelessness legislation in over a decade and will be investing £1.2 billion to tackle “all forms of homelessness.”

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