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Cost of living crisis in the UK increasing homelessness

According to the leading homelessness charity Shelter, there are 217,000 recorded homeless people in the United Kingdom. That includes 123,000 children. With the cost of living crisis in the UK tightening budgets for many families, the threat of homelessness is facing millions.  

Take a walk into any city centre in the UK and you will find people sleeping rough on almost every street. Homelessness is an epidemic that is affecting people who have never been in this situation before.  

Families are facing an unprecedented increase in bills. Gas prices have risen 129.4% and electricity prices have increased by 66.7%. Unsurprisingly many people are crippling under the rise in bills. With the rise in bills and food prices, many families are finding themselves unable to pay these bills as well as rent and mortgages. It is estimated that 92% of families have found that they are spending more than in previous years.  

A survey from Crisis found that nearly one million people are facing eviction in the UK as a result of the rise in energy prices. In addition, the survey reported that people with lower incomes were often using a pre-pay system for gas, which is more expensive. This in turn has left many to skip meals and not heat their homes. 

It is common to see homeless people in city centres, however, there is a rise in homelessness in the countryside. Homelessness in rural areas of the UK has risen by 24% in the last year. Homelessness is spreading rapidly in the UK and is expanding into areas that have never seen it before.  

A study from the University of Kent and Southhampton, found that farmers in certain rural areas have been a “lifeline” to homeless people. Some have been known to pitch tents and provide clean water.  

Normally, homeless people gravitate towards city centres due to better access to services. Rural areas are not equipped with the funding to protect homeless people there. As a result, there have been reports of attacks on homeless people in rural areas. 

The cost of living crisis is leaving people with choices unimaginable to them, and is leaving a high number of the population vulnerable. More must be done to protect them. It is estimated that the number of homeless people in the UK will rise to 300,000 by the end of 2023. 

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