“Homelessness could spread to middle class”, headlines the Guardian, following a report by Crisis, a UK charity. The 120 page study points to “a direct link between the downturn and rising homelessness as cuts to services and draconian changes to benefits shred the traditional welfare safety net,” the London daily reports. The study shows that last year 44,160 people were classified as homeless and placed in social housing, an increase of 10% on the previous year and the first increase in almost a decade. In 2010, another 189,000 people – up 14% on 2009 – were also placed in temporary accommodation – such as small hotels and B&Bs. The charity also identifies a "hidden homeless" trend –where families are forced to share one room rather than a flat. 630,000 households are described as "overcrowded". The reports states that, “Any significant reduction of the welfare safety net in the UK as a result of coalition reforms may, of course, bring the scenario of middle-class homelessness that much closer.”

Meanwhile, Le Monde reveals that the population in France living below the poverty line (€954 per month) has risen in the last years from 7.8 million (13% of the population) in 2008 to 8.2 millions in 2009 (13.5%), according to a survey by the French national statistics institute. A trend that has been worsening in the last two years, a senior representative for the Secours Populaire charity tells the Parisian daily.