Commentating on Suella Braverman’s remarks that homelessness is a ‘lifestyle choice’, Brad Taylor, Rural Campaigns Officer at CPRE, the countryside charity said:
‘Everyone has a right to live in a home they can afford, and no-one in England should find themselves without a roof over their heads, however under government policies we’ve seen a 24% increase in rates of homelessness in rural areas in the year 2021-2022.
‘Instead of criticising those who find themselves in the position of having nowhere to live, we would encourage the Home Secretary to speak to those who have sought to understand the causal factors of rising rates of homelessness. Research commissioned by English Rural, with input from CPRE and others, found that rural poverty exacerbated by high housing costs are the fundamental drivers of rural homelessness. To make matters worse local authorities in rural areas receive 65% less funding per capita than urban areas for homelessness prevention and support services are dispersed and often unavailable.
‘We would like to see a renewed political commitment to ending all homelessness, including rural homelessness. This will require an ambitious plan to alleviate rural poverty and provide a new generation of social rented homes.’
CPRE’s 2023 Rural Affordable Housing Report will be released later this month.