The figures reveal that there were 1.77 million households on local authority social housing waiting lists at the end of 2008, a rise of about 96,000 on 2007. However there has been a drastic reduction of about 117,000 in the number of homes local authorities own over the same period, with just 1.87 million in total.
Leslie Morphy, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “Every day we see new evidence of the impact of the recession. Yesterday we learned unemployment has risen to 2 million people. This will inevitably lead to increased demand for social housing as those who have lost their jobs can no longer afford private accommodation.
“Worryingly, today’s figures show a widening gulf between local authorities’ supply of social housing and demand pent up in their waiting lists. This leaves people in limbo in often sub-standard temporary accommodation, their lives on hold until social housing becomes available. Today’s figures do not even capture the tens of thousands of hidden homeless people who do not qualify for social housing and do not appear in today’s figures.
“We need bold action. The Government must prioritise the building of more social homes across the country and bring forward the necessary resources to do so. Now more than ever we need an innovative and determined approach to tackle the lack of supply by both national and local Government. Not only would this deliver vital new homes, but at the same time would provide a much-needed boost to the construction industry and create desperately needed jobs."
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