4,000 beds for homeless lost since 2010

Homelessness projects are closing down, levels of staff are reducing and bed spaces are being lost as housing budgets are squeezed, research published today reveals.

Homeless Link, an umbrella body, said 133 homelessness projects had closed and 4,000 beds in hostels and second stage accommodation had been lost since 2010.

The number of full-time staff in the sector has fallen by 16 per cent while nearly half (47 per cent) of homeless services last year reported a fall in investment – by an average of 17 per cent, the report said.

Meanwhile, local authorities in the last six months have commonly reported cuts of between 25-40 per cent to housing-related support budgets.

Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, said: ‘Whilst we understand the pressure councils are under, we also know that investment in tackling homelessness is in everyone’s interest and is backed by the public.’

There were 1648 homelessness projects in 2010 compared with 1515 in 2013, and 43,665 bed spaces in 2010 compared with 39,434 this year.

The research came as the charity called on councillors to back homelessness investment in its Pay it Forward campaign.

Homeless Link research also reveals one in three people in Britain has experienced homelessness or know someone who has, with eight out of ten of those polled believing councils should do more to help those encountering homelessness.

Mr Henderson added: ‘These figures highlight how common the experience of being without a home really is and the impact homelessness has on individuals and communities. Homelessness services play a vital role in helping people rebuild their lives, but can only do so if they continue to receive sustainable long-term funding.’