23 July 2018
New research has confirmed that work does not pay for a significant proportion of people in England, as over half of homeless families are found to be employed.
Freedom of Information requests made by homeless charity Shelter showed that 55% of homeless families have jobs.
This accounts for more than 30,000 families, who are currently trapped in temporary accommodation, up from 19,000 families in 2013 – an increase of 73%.
Mary Smith, 47, told Shelter that she became homeless after being evicted by her landlord, forcing her and her three sons to live in a hostel, despite the fact she works full time.
“Luckily, I have an understanding manager now, but I nearly lost my job when I first became homeless because the transport links from my hostel were so bad,” she said.
“We’ve lived in three different temporary places in two years, and it’s been really tough on the children,” she continued.
“Sometimes, I even think that I don’t want to wake up in the morning, but I do. I get on with it because I have other people relying on me.
“I’m not hopeful for our future. I think it’s going to be this constant, vicious circle of moving from temporary place to temporary place, when all my family want is to settle down. We don’t want a palace, we just want a place that we can call home.”
Shelter said the rise in homelessness among those who are in work is being driven by housing costs that are unaffordable to people on low wages.
Losing a tenancy is now the largest single cause of homelessness in England, the charity stated, accounting for 27% of homeless households in the last year.
Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, said: “It’s disgraceful that even when families are working every hour they can, they’re still forced to live through the grim reality of homelessness.
“In many cases, these are parents who work all day or night before returning to a cramped hostel or B&B where their whole family is forced to share a room. A room with no space for normal family life like cooking, playing or doing homework.”