YORKSHIRE’s rural and urban areas are both facing homelessness problems according new figures that reveal 3,700 people in the region are approaching Christmas without a home.
Research by housing charity Shelter suggests Richmondshire, in rural North Yorkshire, and Hull are the areas with the highest rates of homelessness.
However Yorkshire has the lowest rate of homelessness in England with one person in 1,466 without a home compared to London where one in 50 people is in temporary accommodation, sleeping rough or in the care of social services.
Shelter has published the figures today as the charity marks its 50th anniversary.
Tracy Nathan, manager of Shelter’s Sheffield hub, said: “Shelter’s founding shone a light on hidden homelessness in the sixties slums. But while those troubled times have faded into memory, fifty years on a modern day housing crisis is tightening its grip on our country.
“Thousands of people in Yorkshire and the Humber will face the trauma of waking up homeless this Christmas. Decades in the making, this is the tragic result of a nation struggling under the weight of sky-high rents, a lack of affordable homes, and cuts to welfare support.
“We all face the consequences when so many grow up without a place to call home. It breaks up communities and wreaks havoc on family life. For the sake of future generations we must pull together to end this crisis, and refuse to rest until every child has a place to call home.”
The Shelter figures suggest more than a quarter of a million people, or one person in every 216, in England do not have a home.
One in every 936 people in Richmondshire does not have a home, in Hull the figure is one in 1,094 while in Harrogate it is one in 1,139,
Ryedale has the lowest homelessness rate in the region at one in 26,000 or just two people without a home.
Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said: “This spiralling homelessness crisis in Yorkshire and across the country should shame ministers into action.
“Six years of housing policy failure since 2010 has led directly to today’s rising homelessness. You can’t help the homeless if you won’t build the homes, and under this Government the number of new affordable homes has fallen to the lowest level in 24 years.
“Homelessness is not inevitable and Labour in government cut it right down before levels started to soar again after 2010.
“Ministers must now back Labour’s plans to build more low-cost homes, re-think crude cuts to housing benefit, and sort out the growing problem of insecure private rented homes.”
Shelter compiled its research using a range of official figures and its own freedom of information requests.
It claims the research is the first time the true scale of homelessness in England has been revealed.