Thousands of households on housing waiting list in Luton
Thousands of households are stuck on the waiting list for social housing in Luton, new figures reveal.
Housing charity Shelter said the figures are "chilling" and called for the Government to increase the funding for new social homes.
The latest Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows that in March 2018 there were 13,150 households on the housing waiting list in Luton.
That is 36% higher than two years earlier.
Of those, 3,234 were households living in unhygienic or overcrowded housing, while a further 1,100 had to move due to a medical condition.
In Luton, there were 19 vacant homes by the end of March 2018, all of them owned by the council.
Across England, more than 1.1 million families were on council waiting lists - 6% fewer than in 2016.
However, only 23,000 council homes were available in 2017-18.
Polly Neate, Shelter chief executive, said: "When you compare the number of households waiting with the tiny number of available homes, and the trickle of new social homes being built, you understand how chilling today’s housing crisis is.
"It’s not just those in greatest need crying out for the chance of a stable home either, hundreds of thousands of older people and young families are also desperate to escape the private renting trap."
Councillor Martin Tett, housing spokesman at the Local Government Association, said: "A genuine renaissance in council housebuilding is the only way to boost housing supply and tackle the housing waiting lists many councils have.”
Over the last years, Luton's social housing stock has risen slightly.
By the end of March 2017, there were 12,020 social and council homes , up from 11,840 in 2012.
A spokesman for the MHCLG said: "For the last 30 years, governments of all stripes and types have failed to build enough homes.
"We still need to deliver more, better, faster so we have given councils the freedom to build a new generation of council houses and are investing £9 billion in affordable housing, up until March 2022.
"The accuracy of the list also depends on the extent to which housing authorities keep the register up-to-date, as some people might already have found housing, yet remain on the list."