A Labour government would “immediately” buy 8,000 homes and help councils “take over” empty properties, Jeremy Corbyn has said.
The Labour leader told the BBC the scale of homelessness in the UK was “disgusting” and “wholly unnecessary”.
Powers to take over properties that were kept vacant deliberately would be given to councils, he said.
On the prospect of another general election, he told The Andrew Marr Show: “Bring it on.”
Outlining Labour’s plans, he pledged more council properties with lifetime tenancies at secure rent, and more intervention into the private rented sector.
On homelessness he said: “We would give local authorities the power to take over deliberately kept empty properties, because there is something grossly insulting about the idea you would build some luxury block and deliberately keep it empty.
“Surely we have to have a social objective and a social priority in our society?”, he said.
Mr Corbyn also said he would introduce a government-backed mortgage scheme to help first-time buyers.
New figures out last week showed rough sleeping in England had increased for the seventh year in a row.
There were 4,751 people counted or estimated to be bedding down outside in autumn 2017, a 15% rise on the year before and more than double the figure recorded five years ago.
Labour says the 8,000 homes would be made available for people “with a history of sleeping on the streets” and would be acquired through deals with housing associations.
Conservative Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said there were “a number of different reasons” rough sleeping had gone up – including mental health issues and drug and alcohol problems. “We have pledged to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminate it by 2027,” he said.
“We have backed new legislation which is enabling us, with local authorities, to address the reasons why people become homeless and sleep rough, so that we prevent it, rather than try to deal with the problem when it occurs.”