More households with children threatened with homelessness in Wigan
More households with children were threatened with homelessness in Wigan last year, worrying new figures show.
Homelessness charity Crisis said the rise in families being forced from their homes across England is "deeply worrying". Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities figures show 440 households with children were owed a prevention duty in Wigan in 2021-22 – up from 297 the year before.
This means the household has been threatened with homelessness and is eligible for local council support.
A further 315 households were owed a relief duty in the year to March, meaning they are already homeless and Wigan council must take reasonable steps to help the applicant to secure accommodation for at least six months.
Keely Dalfen, finance and commercial director at The Brick homelessness charity in Wigan, said: "The Brick is extremely worried about the ongoing effects of the recent mini-budget and the evident risk of rising interest rates which will inevitably put more pressure on people to make ends meet.
"Last week we were concerned about how families will be able to heat their homes, this week we are worried about families not having homes to heat.
"As the value of the pound falls dramatically within international currency markets, interest rates are expected to spike to as much as six per cent by next year, creating mounting fear for homeowners and private renters already experiencing a cost-of-living crisis.
"Services provided by the Brick have seen a huge surge in inquiries and our worst fear is that as our capacity is stretched thin, there will be people who ultimately fall through the cracks, unable to access the support they need."
Nationally, 56,340 households with children were owed a prevention duty in 2021-22 – up by 24 per cent on 45,590 the year before.
Similarly, the number of relief duties owed to households with children rose from 30,080 to 36,960.
The Government pledged in its 2019 manifesto to end homelessness by 2024.
Overall, the number of households owed a prevention duty rose from 119,400 in 2020-21 to 133,450 in 2020-21, while the number of relief duties fell from 149,160 to 144,670.
Kiran Ramchandani, director of policy and external affairs at Crisis, said: "The intense cost of living pressures and a severe lack of affordable housing mean many households with children will be forced into temporary accommodation and we know how damaging a long-term stay can be, especially for children and young people."
Ms Ramchandani urged the Government to increase housing benefits in the autumn budget and set out a clear plan to provide affordable homes.
"Only this action can protect thousands more families from homelessness in the coming months," she added.
Ms Ramchandani also highlighted that it is vital for those fleeing domestic abuse cases to have a safe place to call home.
Domestic abuse pushed an increasing number of people towards homelessness, with some 11,330 of the 56,340 households with children owed a relief duty across the country caused by domestic abuse. In Wigan, 55 domestic abuse cases led to prevention duties, while 118 relief duties were owed.