Claire Lister, 23, an activist involved with Birmingham Tenants and Homeless Action Group, said, “Homelessness is on the rise and the council is effectively doing nothing, worse – homeless charities have been cut by 29%. Birmingham already has the highest rate of homelessness in the UK and with the incoming housing benefit cuts even more people are going to be at risk of becoming homeless.”
The group are demanding the council put back into use as social housing as many of the 11,000 empty homes as possible to deal with the growing homeless problem.
As of the 1st September a new law (Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 ) will come into effect making it illegal to squat residential properties. The group condemn the new law saying that squatting is used by many homeless people as a means of keeping a roof over their heads, the new law is in effect targeting and marginalising society’s most vulnerable.
 http://www.emptyhomes.com/statistics-2/ & http://www.emptyhomes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/empty-homes-stats-20112.xls
From Indymedia UK