The Government’s “complacent” attitude to homelessness has left thousands of people sleeping rough on the streets and more than 120,000 children stuck in temporary accommodation, a damning inquiry has found.
Conservative and Labour MPs said the Department for Communities and Local Government “has not shown enough urgency in addressing the growing crisis of homelessness”.
There aren’t enough homes for people who need them, leading to “an unacceptable shortage of realistic housing options for households that are either homeless or are at immediate risk of homelessness”.
And official figures may underestimate the scale of the problem, because the Government “does not seem either to understand or measure the extent of hidden homelessness.”
The findings were published by the Commons Public Accounts Committee, which includes Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood. Of the Committee’s 16 members, seven are Conservative MPs.
And the MPs warned: “The extent of homelessness across England is a national crisis. It is appalling that at any one time there are as many as 9,100 people sleeping rough on our streets.
“More than 78,000 households, including over 120,000 children, are homeless and housed in temporary accommodation, which can often be of a very poor standard.
"In addition there are ‘hidden homeless’ people who are housed by family and friends in shifting circumstances, but not captured as part of the official figures.”
Government figures show 8,300 people in the West Midlands were found to be homeless and in “priority need” in the 12 months up to March 2017.
This includes people with dependent children or who are pregnant, under 18, have recently left care or are considered “vulnerable”.
Another 2,710 people in the West Midlands were homeless but not in priority need.
A total of 5,159 children and pregnant women were in temporary accommodation arranged by their local authority in the West Midlands at the end of September.
That included 3,648 in Birmingham alone.
It meant 576 children or expectant mothers in Birmingham were living in bed and breakfast accommodation found for them by the council, and 187 were in hostels.
Watchdog Michael King, the Local Government Ombudsman, has warned that even people in good jobs are increasingly at risk of becoming homeless.
The problem is caused by the increasing cost of private rents. He said last week: “Our cases show many pre-conceived ideas about the people affected by homelessness simply no longer ring true.
"The increasing cost of private rents has meant we have seen a shift towards more people in professions such as nursing, and their families, becoming affected.”