Homeless Link's annual review of support for single homeless people

Monday, 27 March 2017 - 3:37pm

The 2016 survey of frontline homelessness services in England reveals innovation amidst a fall in funding and bed spaces.

Homeless man

Frontline organisations are adopting innovative models of service delivery, playing a critical role in providing diverse support for their clients, despite the difficult climate they are operating in. This is one of the key findings uncovered by Support for Single Homeless People in England, Homeless Link’s annual survey of homelessness services.

Notably, a range of approaches are being used to improve the availability of accommodation and other longer term support options. Seven out of ten accommodation projects reported they are either using or exploring shared accommodation schemes, and 65% and 39% are using or exploring rent deposit and bond schemes and Housing First respectively.

Services increasingly recognise that they cannot work in isolation to deliver support and accommodation for people experiencing homelessness. The new commissioning structures and the recognition that many of the same people use services across housing, health, criminal justice and substance misuse, mean that joint delivery of services is becoming more common. This is resulting in the delivery of more personalised support and efficient use of limited resources.

State of the sector

The research found that there are 35,727 bed spaces available in homelessness accommodation projects, a drop of 2% since 2015. The number of accommodation projects has fallen by 5% to 1,185, while the number of day centres has increased by 3% to 214 since 2015.

Although 47% of accommodation projects have experienced decreased funding, they are still supporting people to develop the skills they need to move on. They provide a range of support services, with 93% offering life skills, 90% resettlement support and 87% helping with basic needs. However, of people engaging in activities, those participating in training and education has decreased by nine percentage points, and those in employment has fallen by five percentage points.

The survey also indicates that while 30% of people living in homeless accommodation projects are ready to live independently, many cannot move out because there is nowhere suitable to go, despite the sector’s efforts to innovate. Of this group, more than a quarter (27%) have been waiting to move on for more than six months.

The homelessness sector’s ability to innovate is undoubtedly one of its key strengths. With a raft of changes already taking effect or set to impact the sector shortly, including the Government’s £40 million homelessness prevention programme and pledged 2,000 move-on accommodation places, and the expected Homelessness Reduction Act, we anticipate a different landscape in 12 months’ time.

Homelessness in numbers

  • There are currently 35,727 bed spaces available in homelessness accommodation projects – 18% fewer than 2010.
  • There are 214 homelessness day centres – 14% more than in 2010.
  • 70% of accommodation projects provide services to help prevent homelessness.
  • 47% of accommodation projects have experienced decreased funding.
  • 8% of accommodation projects have seen their funding increase.

Accessing move on accommodation

  • 30% of people in accommodation projects were ready to move on but had not yet been able to.
  • 34% of projects reported a lack of affordable accommodation as the main barrier to move-on
  • Projects report problems with landlords unwilling to accept housing benefit tenants.

The range of support needs

  • 33% of people in accommodation projects have complex needs and need additional support.
  • 73% of accommodation projects have had to turn people away because their needs were too high.

Download a copy of the full report on our annual review of single homelessness support in England.

Talk To Us

Louise Weaver

Communications manager

Louise is the communications manager at Homeless Link.

Telephone: 0207 840 4427
Email: louise.weaver@homelesslink.org.uk