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Latest homelessness statistics and code of guidance for councils 29/04/2021

Government have published the latest quarterly homelessness statistics in England for the quarter between October 2020 to 31 December 2020.

 

Figures show the number of households in temporary accommodation was 95,370, up 8.0% from 88,310 on 31 December 2019.

 

Between October to December 2020:

 

  • 62,250 households were initially assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness and owed a statutory homelessness duty - down 9.2% from October to December 2019
  • 28,270 households were assessed as being threatened with homelessness, and therefore owed a prevention duty - down 18.5% from the same quarter last year and linked to a 49.9% decrease in threatened homelessness due to service of a Section 21 notice to end an Assured Shorthold Tenancy
  • 33,990 households were initially assessed as homeless and therefore owed a relief duty, up 0.5% from the same quarter last year; however, households with children fell 13.8%
  • 9,670 households were accepted as owed a main homelessness duty - down 5.3% from October to December 2019. Households with children fell by 13.6%, reflecting the fall in households with children owed a prevention or relief duty in the most recent two quarters
  • On 31 December 2020 the number of households in temporary accommodation was 95,370 - up 8.0% from 88,310 on 31 December 2019. This increase is driven by single adult households, up 45.0% to 28,570, while households with children decreased 4.6% to 59,670

 

Some of these changes can be linked to the government and local authority response to COVID-19 including:

 

  • Single households accommodated under the 'Everyone In' campaign, whereby local authorities were asked to provide emergency accommodation to rough sleepers, people who were living in shelters with shared sleeping arrangements, and those at risk of rough sleeping
  • The restriction on private rented sector evictions, and lengthened notice periods for landlords seeking to evict tenants

 

The full statistical release is available on the Government website.

 

ARCH Chief Executive John Bibby comments:

 

"The latest statistics reflect the action taken by local councils to tackle rough sleeping under the "everyone in" campaign in response to the Covid pandemic but with over 95,000 households living in temporary accommodation the only long term solution must be the provision of more social rented housing.

 

Looking forward, the fact that we have had a ban on evictions for over twelve months and the reported near 50% decrease in threatened homelessness in the private rented sector due to service of a Section 21 notice to end an Assured Shorthold Tenancy suggests that we may see a significant increase in homeless applications over the coming months as the eviction ban is lifted and we gradually move out of lockdown measures and the full impact on the economy and employment is known."

 

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government have also updated the homelessness code of guidance for councils. Changes were made to the following chapters: 

  • Chapter 4: The duty of public authorities to refer cases in England to housing authorities 
  • Chapter 8: Priority need 
  • Chapter 10: Local connection and referrals to another housing authority 
  • Chapter 18: Applications, decisions and notifications 

 

The updated Homelessness Code of Guidance is available on the Government website.

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