New figures published this week by the Department for Communities and Local Government show that there has been a 14 per cent rise in homelessness in England in the past year.

The statistics will be particularly grim reading for housing campaigners in Barking and Dagenham, where recent trends have added to an already struggling housing situation.

Out of the 326 registered districts in England, the Government’s figures show that Barking and Dagenham now has the third highest number of households living in bed and breakfasts. The borough also now has one of the top ten highest proportions of households living in temporary accommodation.

The recent figures have drawn sharp criticism of the Government’s housing policies from those campaigning on the issue.

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of homeless charity Crisis, said: “We face a perfect storm of economic downturn, rising joblessness and soaring demand for limited affordable housing combined with government policy to cut housing benefit plus local cuts to homelessness services.”

Local MP Jon Cruddas who has been consistent campaigner on the issue of affordable housing, has also expressed his anger at what he sees as the Government’s failure to adequately protect families from falling into homelessness.

He said; “The new figures on homelessness in Barking and Dagenham are truly shocking. It’s nothing less than a tragedy that so many families in the borough still do not have a home to call their own.”

“The economic and housing policies of this Conservative led Coalition Government are totally and utterly failing this area. Unemployment is rising, the cost of living is going up, and on top of that, this Tory-led Government wants to slash support for the most vulnerable. The result: the biggest rise in homelessness in a decade.”

Local MP Jon Cruddas says it is a “tragedy” that families are failing to find homes