Homelessness has fallen to its lowest level since 1985 but councils have been urged not to forget the plight of single people.
Just over 100,000 households were accepted as homeless by their local authority in 2005, 28 per cent lower than the previous year, according to official statistics.
The number of households in temporary accommodation also fell in the last three months of 2005, from 101,000 in September to 99,000 in December. Almost two-thirds of those accepted as homeless were households with children or pregnant women.
But nearly 49,000 households, around a fifth of all applicants, were refused assistance because they were not in a priority need group.
Jeremy Swain, chief executive of London homelessness charity Thames Reach Bondway, said most of this group were likely to be single people and argued that there was a risk single homelessness could be ignored in favour of the more emotive issue of family homelessness.
The number of households ineligible for help because they were considered intentionally homeless rose from 5,000 in 1997 to 14,000 in 2005.
Swain said that all the focus was on the number of families in temporary accommodation. But “I want us to keep thinking about all those people being turned away”, he added.