New homelessness cases accepted by councils in England are at their lowest number since the early 1980s, according to government statistics published this week.
Just under 20,000 households were accepted as homeless by local authorities from April to June 2006, down 7 per cent on the previous quarter and 29 per cent lower than the same period last year. The number of households in temporary accommodation also fell by 3 per cent to 93,910.
But campaigners have argued the figures are falling only because councils are interpreting the law strictly.
The number of decisions made by authorities on homelessness applications also fell – by 32 per cent.
The number of rough sleepers in England has increased from 456 to 502 over the past year, however.
Highest was Westminster, with 173, followed by 25 in the City of London. But in other major urban centres the figures were much lower. Leeds and Bristol, for example, had only one rough sleeper each.