Structural causes of homelessness must be addressed as a priority

Friday, 23 March 2018 - 11:42am

Homeless Link responds to the Government’s homelessness statistics for Q4 2017

young man wearing a back pack

There were 78,930 households in temporary accommodation at the end of December 2017, up 4% on a year earlier, according to the statutory homelessness data released today by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Other key statistics include:

  • The number of households accepted as homeless by local authorities in Q4 was 13,640, which is down 5% from the same quarter last year. However, acceptances made up 51% of total applications compared to 52% in Q4 2016.
  • Of the 78,930 households in temporary accommodation:

            - 60,520 included dependent children and/or a pregnant woman

            - 22,150 or 28% are living outside of their local area.

  • The main cause of homelessness was the end of an assured shorthold tenancy, accounting for 27% of cases in England and 31% in London.
  • Local authorities acted to prevent and relieve homelessness for 52,440 households in Q4, up 3% on the same quarter in 2016.

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

“The latest set of figures show that we must prioritise strategic action to address the long-term structural drivers behind the homelessness crisis once and for all. While we welcome the Government’s current focus on reducing homelessness and rough sleeping in particular, with thousands of individuals and families continuing to find themselves without a roof over their heads, it is clear that we must tackle the persistent problems of the dysfunctional housing market and the impact of welfare reform. The supply and affordability of housing, the freeze on the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and the growing gap between benefit levels and rents, are all issues that need resolving.

“We’ve supported local authorities and homelessness services to prepare for the new duties of the Homelessness Reduction Act through a series of events held across the country to provide information and help discuss the approaches they’ll take. With the Act coming into force from 3 April, we hope to see everyone working together to act earlier to prevent vulnerable people from becoming homeless and to end homelessness entirely. A sea-change could be on the way.”

Statutory homelessness Q4 2017 analysis

A breakdown of the statutory homelessness figures for October - December 2017. 


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Louise Weaver

Communications manager

Louise is the communications manager at Homeless Link. Louise is currently on maternity leave. 

Telephone: 0207 840 4427