Record number of people in temporary accommodation in the North West

2711 Homeless crisis NW
Thousands of people are living in temporary accommodation Credit: ITV News

The number of people living in temporary accommodation in the North West has hit an all-time high.

In March 2023, 6,870 households in the region were without a place to call their home, with 5,000 of those in Greater Manchester.

That is an increase of 13.9% when compared to the same period in 2022.

It is often sub-standard accommodation with issues such as mould, rodents and overcrowding a common theme, but by the time the next figures come out, it is feared the number of people forced into these types of conditions will have risen yet again.

The Government has promised a rise in housing benefits, which campaigners hope will help - in part - to combat this problem.

But that does not kick in until April of next year meaning for thousands of people there is a long, cold winter to get through.

Vickie is one of those.

She is a mum-of-three and once worked as a team leader supporting vulnerable homeless mothers but now, following a no-fault eviction, is classed as being homeless herself.

Vickie and her children were placed in emergency temporary accommodation three months ago; a flat above a pub.

The cramped space is made up of just two rooms and a bathroom, and Vickie described the noise from the pub below as "relentless."

She said: "All your emotions are heightened, there’s more crying, more arguments, gtting frustrated with each other.

"Things like, I can’t cook proper family meals so the type of food we’re eating is different."

It is the fourth time they have been moved since becoming homeless in March, as the council works out how to support them long-term.

Vickie said: "It’s just groundhog day every day, there’s no end in sight. I dono’t know how long I’m going to be here and I can’t give the kids the answer.

"They ask me 'when are we going to get our own house?' I have no idea."

Since moving to the flat, one of her daughters has started experiencing panic attacks.

Vickie added: "It’s so stressful because it’s a small place. If you’re feeling overwhelmed there’s not many places to go."

At the Communication Academy in North Manchester, staff are well aware of the difficulties faced by hidden homelessness.

Working alongside Shelter and the council, they are trying to help their pupils as much as possible.

The reasons for the rise in people in temporary accommodation are varied, but one of the main causes is an increase in so called "no fault' evictions from the private rented sector.

Those evictions are often linked to the cost of living crisis, which has placed market rents out of reach for many.

The Government has previously promised to ban those type of evictions, but those plans have been put on hold indefinitely.

The chancellor has committed to unlocking the freeze on housing benefits, a move largely welcomed because it would provide some of the lowest earners with more financial support and could help to tackle the current crisis by reducing those extortionate numbers currently in temporary accommodation.

All time high number of people in temporary accommodation Credit: ITV News

A spokesperson for Trafford Council said: "Housing Options Service Trafford (HOST) have been assisting the family since early 2023 when they were given notice to leave their property by their landlord.

"They have been awarded additional priority on our housing register to access social housing (they are currently in Band 1 which is the highest priority band) and have been offered financial assistance towards a deposit and the first months’ rent for a private rented property.

"Unfortunately, like most authorities in the country, the demand for social housing in Trafford is greater than the supply of properties.

"We currently have over 8,000 people on the waiting list for social housing, which means it can take quite a while for an applicant to be allocated a property.

"While we continue to assist the family to secure settled housing, we have provided temporary accommodation for them.

"Due to the exceptional demand on homelessness services, and limited availability of temporary accommodation, we are restricted to what we can offer at any one time.

"However, we always ensure the properties we provide are suitable for the household and HOST have made a conscious effort to provide the best available option.

"The property is a self-contained temporary accommodation unit that has been utilised by Trafford Council for over five years.

"The lady concerned was prioritised for self-contained accommodation as she has children, and the property is within close proximity of their schools.

Vickie says the noise from the pub below the flat is "relentless" Credit: ITV news

"She has not made us aware of any noise issues at the apartments, but we will endeavour to investigate this.

"We are understanding of the strain homelessness can have on mental health, and this is not something HOST take lightly.

"We will continue to work closely with this family and their support workers to resolve their homelessness as soon as possible."

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