Under the UK's 2002 Homelessness Act, all households in England and Wales that are officially recognized as homeless are entitled to advice and support from their local authority. However, a household is entitled to accommodation only if the local authority is satisfied that the applicant is eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need.
• The homelessness charity Crisis has estimated that there are about 400,000 “hidden homeless” people, a category that includes all those who satisfy the legal definition of homelessness, but have not been provided with accommodation.
• In the last three months of last year, local authorities in England accepted 12,070 people or family groups as being owed suitable accommodation.
• 4 percent of these acceptances were in cases where homelessness resulted from mortgage arrears. There has been a steady increase in the proportion of such acceptances since 2003.
• According to the UK’s Council of Mortgage Lenders, there were 40,000 repossessions last year, while in 2007 there were 7,100.
• Research by the homelessness charity Shelter predicts that the recent collapse in house building will mean a total housing shortfall in England of almost 1 million by 2020.
• The most recent local authority street counts show at least 483 people are sleeping rough in England a night.
• Nationally, there are 187 day centers serving an estimated 10,000 people experiencing or at risk of homelessness every day.
SOURCES: CRISIS, HOMELESS LINK, SHELTER, THE COUNCIL OF MORTGAGE LENDERS,DEPARTMENT FOR COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT