Black people more than three times as likely to experience homelessness in Bedford

"We can’t allow the legacy of Covid-19 to be one of rising homelessness and shattered lives," says Shelter

Friday, 9th October 2020, 12:15 pm

Black people are more than three times as likely to experience homelessness in Bedford as all other ethnic groups, figures suggest.

Housing charity Shelter criticised "deep inequality and systemic racism" within the housing system, and warned the legacy of the coronavirus pandemic must not be one of rising homelessness.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) data shows 989 households were assessed as entitled to help from the council in Bedford in the year to March.

Housing charity Shelter criticised "deep inequality and systemic racism" within the housing system

Of the lead applicants from these households, 10.9 per cent (108) were black, while black households are estimated to make up only 4 per cent of the area's population, according to the latest census.

It means black people were 3.2 times more likely to experience homelessness, with roughly one in 24 black households in Bedford becoming homeless or being threatened with homelessness last year, compared to one in 75 households from all other ethnic groups combined.

The ethnicity of 65 of the 989 applicants was not recorded or unknown.

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said it is "appalling" that black people are disproportionately impacted by homelessness.

“We must act fast, because the pandemic we are now enduring is only intensifying the housing emergency and its destructive inequalities," she said.

"We can’t allow the legacy of Covid-19 to be one of rising homelessness and shattered lives."

David Renard, housing spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: “Councils are doing all they can to make sure everyone gets the housing support they need, however it is clearly a concern BAME people are disproportionately affected by homelessness and we would encourage the Government to review why this is the case.”

An MHCLG spokesman said the Homelessness Reduction Act is ensuring more people get the help they need to prevent them from becoming homeless.

He added: "We’re committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness and ending rough sleeping for good, and the Government has allocated over half a billion pounds this year to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society."