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by administrator @, Wednesday, August 01, 2012, 11:39

The number of people classified as homeless has increased by 14% year-on-year and by 25% in the last three years, new research has revealed.

More than 50,000 people are now homeless across England, according to the figures, with some areas showing an increase of up to 600% in the last twelve months.

Data experts SSentif completed a national and regional analysis of homelessness rates and found that 50,290 households were identified as priority homeless by councils in England in the year 2011/12, an increase of 6,130 on 2010/11.

Regionally, the highest percentage increase in homelessness was reported in the East of England, which showed a 44% increase in the number of households accepted as homeless between 2009/10 and 2011/12.

Overall, the only region to have reduced the number of households declared homeless was the North East, which showed a reduction of just over 10%. Elsewhere, there were increases across the board.

Amongst individual Local Authorities there were reports of increases of more than 500 per cent over the last two years, with organisations such as Broxbourne Council which reported just one household as homeless in 2009/10, reporting a total of 119 households found to be homeless in the 12 months leading up to March 2012 - leaving them in the top five of all councils based on percentage increase.

The largest increase in numbers was in Birmingham, which reported 3,929 households as homeless, an increase of 558 on 2009/10. Birmingham was closely followed by Sheffield, which reported 1,383 households as priority homeless in the latest figures, an increase of 437 people (46%) on 2009/10.

Judy Aldred, managing director of SSentif, said: "Whilst these figures are perhaps not surprising given the state of the economy, some of the results for specific councils are quite shocking. By analysing the data at council level we were able to highlight some areas that are showing much greater increases than the national average.

"We were also able to cross reference the data with spending on homelessness which dropped in England from £213.7m to £199.8m between 2009/10 and 2010/11. In Birmingham, where homelessness increased 25% from 09/10 to 10/11, spend dropped from £7.8m to £5.5m (29%)."

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