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New CPRE research shines a spotlight on the rural housing crisis

12th September 2019

Our analysis of new government data on homelessness has revealed a worrying trend: the number of households classified as homeless in rural towns and villages across England has increased by 85% over the past year.

Nationally, homelessness has seen a significant increase over the past year, rising by 45%. However, rural communities have experienced a surge in homelessness almost double the national increase, rising from 9,312 to 17,212 over that year.

CPRE housing campaigner Lois Lane said: ‘For too long the housing crisis has long been considered an issue affecting only urban areas, but this analysis shows the impact of a long-term failure to rural-proof housing policies on communities living in the countryside.’

While experiencing homelessness is devastating for individuals and families wherever they live, these figures show a need to highlight the often overlooked consequences of becoming homeless in a market town or village – where support services for those in need tend to be fewer and further between than in larger urban areas. Without homes people can afford, rural communities can’t thrive.

To solve the problem, the government needs to invest in the housing people need in rural towns and villages. ‘The government must increase the proportion of spending that goes into constructing social homes for rent,’ said Lois Lane. ‘Funding for rural areas should be ring-fenced in line with the proportion of the population who live there. This is the only way we can stop more families in the countryside being forced out of their homes.’

In June this year, we joined with a coalition of housing groups and charities to call on the government to invest £12.8 billion a year in housing funding over the next decade. The investment would provide 1.45 million social homes shared ownership properties across the country, bringing an end to the housing crisis.

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The legacy of Ethel’s vision and determination lives on thanks to the continued efforts of the Friends of the Peak District, and she remains an inspiration to everyone within CPRE