The loss of a private tenancy was the biggest factor in homelessness in 2015, as over 17,000 households lost their home after being evicted – three times as many households as five years ago.
The number of homeless families recorded by local councils is even higher, at 56,500, which is up by a third compared to five years earlier.
Chief executive of Shelter, Campbell Robb said the figures provided “unquestionable proof” that the UK is in the clutches of a housing crisis. He went on to criticise the Chancellor’s proposals to tackle rough sleeping in last week’s Budget as “simply inadequate”.
Government figures also showed that the number of homeless families living in emergency B&Bs and hostels increased by 14% from 2014 to 2015 and 103% in five years.
Robb said: “Over the past 50 years at Shelter we have seen first-hand that reducing homelessness is only possible when a government is truly committed to providing secure and affordable homes, and adequate support should the worst happen. But, tragically as we approach our 50th anniversary we are instead facing the catastrophic consequences of short-sighted welfare cuts and a severe housing shortage.
“If we want to break the cycle of homelessness for good, this government has to stop side-stepping the root causes, and urgently prioritise building homes that people on low and ordinary incomes can actually afford to rent long-term or buy.”