Homeless numbers shine spotlight on broken housing market

Friday, 23 June 2017 - 8:53am

Thousands of households are currently living in temporary accommodation away from their local area, according to the Government's statutory homelessness stats for the first quarter of 2017, released on 22 June.

The number of households living in temporary accommodation at the end of Q1 2017 has increased to 77,240, representing an 8% annual increase and a 2% rise since the previous quarter, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government homelessness statistics, released today.

Other key statistics include:

  • The number of households accepted as homeless by local authorities in Q1 was 14,600, which is up 1% on the previous quarter, and a decrease of 1% on the same quarter in 2016. Acceptances made up 51% of total applications.
  • Of the 77,240 households in temporary accommodation, 21,950 or 28% are living outside of their local area. This is an increase of 10% on the same time last year. 
  • 16% of households (12,330) were living in temporary accommodation with shared facilities at the end of Q1 2017. 6,590 of those were living in bed and breakfasts – an 11% annual increase.
  • The main cause of homelessness was the end of an assured shorthold tenancy at 29%, indicating that affordability and the increase in size of the private rented sector are substantial issues.

Homeless Link's Chief Executive, Rick Henderson, commented:

“The housing market is broken, with a chronic shortage of low cost housing and people struggling to afford a new private rented tenancy when their current one ends. We know that something has to change; it is not right that thousands of families should have to live in poor quality temporary accommodation, often with shared facilities, and that many of these have been housed away from their local area and established support network.

“Our ask remains the same, and is more critical than ever. It is vital that resources are put behind the Homelessness Reduction Act so that it works as it should, to prevent people from becoming homeless and effectively assist those that do. More than that, establishing a cross-government strategy to end homelessness should be a priority -  alongside urgent action to increase the availability of truly affordable housing -  if we are to ensure that some of the most vulnerable people in our society have the support they need to move on from homelessness for good.”

Compared to Q1 2016, the latest statistics show that in Q1 2017:

  • The number of applications decreased by 2%
  • The number of acceptances decreased by 1%
  • The rate of acceptance was 51%
  • Homelessness due to the loss of an assured shorthold tenancy remained the biggest cause of homelessness at 29%
  • Use of temporary accommodation rose by 8%
  • The number of households in temporary accommodation outside of their local area increased by 10%.

See Homeless Link’s interactive data tool for more figures on statutory homelessness

The Government statistics for Statutory homelessness and homelessness prevention and relief, England: January to March 2017 can be found here.

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Louise Weaver

Communications manager

Louise is the communications manager at Homeless Link.

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