Amnesty warns homelessness will grow, as one in three UK adults at risk

Human rights charity Amnesty International is calling for affordable housing to be made a human right in law to combat growing homelessness as a result of the cost of living crisis.

The charity yesterday released a report examining the law, policy and practice relating to homelessness in the UK and revealed that one in three (31%) UK adults said they were concerned they could end up homeless within the next five years.

The study found that a lack of adequate social housing and certain government policies have led to people being denied housing, impacting their physical and mental health.

It’s predicted more people are to become homeless, as the government’s own statistics show 270,000 people are currently on the streets.

man in gray hoodie lying on gray concrete floor during daytime

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Housing is a human right, not a luxury and it needs to be protected in law. It’s very convenient for the Government that people often assume a person is homeless as a result of personal circumstances, but in truth homelessness is a result of a systematic failure of Government.

‘The absurd obstacle course which a person experiencing homelessness has to get through in order to “qualify” for housing help is intended to lock them out, because there simply isn’t enough housing for the ever-growing need.

‘Draconian and highly subjective rules regularly result in the most vulnerable being the least likely to be helped.

‘Unless housing is rightfully recognised as a basic legal human right, there is no way to hold the Government to account for its woeful failings.’

Additionally, Amnesty found that two in five people worry that someone they know could end up houseless or in temporary accommodation within the next five years.

The charity also highlighted how many people subject to immigration restrictions are not permitted to work or access public funds, leaving them forced to sleep rough.

Now the organisation is calling for ‘priority need’ conditions to be scrapped, which requires local authorities to identify those most eligible for assistance and blocks out many deemed to be ‘single homeless’ without children.

Despite Amnesty believing insufficient government housing being the main reason for homelessness, it found that 36% thought personal failure was the main cause.

The charity is now campaigning to change this narrative and is calling for the government to fulfil international obligations, since homelessness is considered a serious violation of rights to adequate housing in international human rights law and standards.

Photo by Jon Tyson


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