The government is risking an additional £2.6bn in annual costs to the Treasury if it ignores the hundreds of thousands of people at risk of homelessness because they are behind on their rent, The Big Issue can reveal.
Analysis by The Big Issue estimates the combined cost to local services and prevention could be at least £2.6bn if 225,000 renters currently in arrears lose their homes. But that could be avoided with a £360m support package to pay off arrears.
So far Housing Secretary Michael Gove has promised a pot of £65m to support people in rent arrears. But The Big Issue’s Stop Mass Homelessness campaign is warning that failing to prevent renters from losing their homes could be costly.
From just £3 per week
“The cost of mass homelessness is too much to pay both financially and societally,” said Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue. “These figures are astonishing but go to show it is critical we act now to prevent this crisis.
“For Covid-19’s legacy to be a mass homelessness crisis would be unfathomable and unforgivable. Now is the time to ensure that doesn’t happen.”
Covid-19’s impact on the renters has left 225,000 tenants “probably” or “likely to” lose their home due to mounting debts built up during the pandemic, according to StepChange.