Socialist Worker

Homelessness crisis is deepening further during virus chaos 

by Isabel Ringrose
Issue No. 2730

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Support from the government isn't enough (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Eviction bans and a government scheme claiming to house homeless people during the pandemic are failing ordinary people.

Since April at least 90,063 people have been threatened with eviction and more than half of these have already lost their homes.

The blanket eviction ban ended in September, but tenants living in areas under the old tier two and tier three Covid-19 restrictions were protected from eviction. 

Bailiffs were asked not to enforce court possession orders in these areas. It meant although evictions could still proceed through the courts, bailiffs could not enforce court orders. 

This has been extended throughout the new national lockdown. 

And landlords are also not able to start possession proceedings unless they have given six months’ notice.

The government additionally asked bailiffs not to evict tenants between 11 December 2020 and 11 January 2021 during the Christmas period.

But many are still finding themselves homeless.

Suffering

And it is young people who are suffering the most. Young people have been hit hard by unemployment, especially those who work in hospitality.

Over two-fifths of young renters believe that they can only support themselves for two months or less without an income before they would be unable to pay rent and bills.

And some have been made homeless because they’ve been sent section 21 eviction notices and are not aware of their legal rights.

Lucy Abraham, chief executive of the homeless charity Glass Door, said it was seeing a large number of people in precarious living situations who had found themselves homeless.

She said, “Workers who were sharing overcrowded houses found these situations untenable because everyone was suddenly supposed to be home the whole time rather than just sleeping there.”

This shows that although the government has put a system in place and claims it is successful, it falls far short.

The government has also announced it will provide £15 million to support rough sleepers. But Jon Sparkes, from the homeless charity Crisis, said this “does not go far enough and addresses just one part of the problem.”

“We appeal to the government to give local councils sufficient funding to ensure everyone is in safe and self-contained accommodation.”

Axe the Housing Act—secure homes for all meeting. Wed 25 November, 6.30pm with Ken Loach on the ­fight against evictions and poverty. Details at bit.ly/LoachHousing

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