Greater prevention needed as more households are turned down for help

Thursday, 6 March 2014 - 3:14pm

Homeless Link calls for more action to prevent homelessness in reponse to the latest statutory numbers from the Government.

Published today, the latest figures from the Government show a 5% year on year fall in the number of applications to councils for help with homelessness. However, of the 28,020 applications made between 1 October and 31 December 2013, the proportion being accepted has fallen by 5%.

Commenting on the figures, Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said:

“The fact that fewer people are approaching their council for help is encouraging. However, with more than half of applications being turned away, we have to ask what happens to those who don’t get help. 

“Although we recognise that councils have struggled to meet the demand, there needs to be suitable alternatives in place. If people are not supported to find housing, they may be forced into illegal lets, sofa-surfing or even onto the streets.

“We can prevent this not only with better advice and support but also with more targeted support to stop people losing their homes in the first place. The most common reason for people becoming homeless is their landlords ending their tenancy, a situation that in many cases could be prevented”  

According to analysis by Homeless Link:

  • Applications in Q4 2013 (28,020) are down by 4% from Q4 2012 (29,060)
  • Acceptances (12,890) are down by 5% compared to Q4 2012 (13,570)
  • Rate of acceptance is down 1% to 46%
  • 24% of acceptances were as a result of the ending of an assured shorthold tenancy
  • Use of temporary accommodation has increased 7% (56,930 in Q4 2013 compared to 53,130 in Q4 2012)
  • The use of Other Private Sector accommodation is up 44% and hostel use is up 10%
  • Households placed in other LA areas has increased 23% (11,860 in Q4 2013 compared to 9,670 in Q4 2012)
  • Parents or friends no longer able or willing to accommodate continues to be the main reason for loss of last settled home at 30%

Read the full government analysis here.

Analysis of homeless numbers March 2013

On the 3rd March 2014, the Government published the figures on households applying to councils in England for help with homelessness from October  - December 2013. This document sets out our analysis of these figures.