Households in temporary accommodation at highest level in almost 20 years

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The number of households in England living in temporary accommodation has topped 100,000 for the first time in almost 20 years, the latest figures show.

There were 101,300 households in this situation by December 31, a figure last reached in 2004, according to Government statistics.

The total figure is an increase of 5.2% from the same date in 2021.

POLITICS Homelessness
(PA Graphics)

A total of 127,220 dependent children were living in temporary accommodation on December 31, while the number of households in bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) with dependent children has more than doubled.

Single households – households without children – in temporary accommodation increased by 3.0% to 38,890, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said.

The release, which covered October to December 2022, stated that the number of households in temporary accommodation had increased by 2.5% on the previous quarter.

Some 12,220 of the households in temporary accommodation were living in B&Bs, a rise of 31.8% from the same time last year.

The number of households in B&Bs with dependent children rose by 129.2% to 2,980.

Earlier this year temporary accommodation setups described as “cramped, dangerous and grotty” went on display in Ikea stores across the UK to highlight the conditions homeless people are facing (Tim Gander/PinPep/PA)
Earlier this year, temporary accommodation set-ups described as ‘cramped, dangerous and grotty’ went on display in Ikea stores to highlight the conditions homeless people face (Tim Gander/PinPep/PA)

Some 1,630 of the households with children in B&B accommodation had been living there for more than the statutory limit of six weeks, the department added.

This is up 196.4% from 550 on the 2021 figure, and up 34.7% from 1,210 in the previous quarter.

Almost a third (29.2%) or 29,580 households in temporary accommodation were in accommodation in a different local authority district, up 5.3% from the previous quarter and up 11.2% from the same time last year, the department said.

The majority (82.0%) of these out of district placements were from London authorities.

There were 16.2 households living in temporary accommodation per 1,000 households in London, compared with 2.1 households per 1,000 in the rest of England by December 31 2022.

A total of 72,550 households were assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness between October and December, up 4.7% from the same period in 2021.

Some 37,430 households were assessed as homeless and therefore owed a relief duty – which is help owed to households from a local authority to help them secure settled accommodation.

This figure rose by 8.1% from the same quarter last year.

Households with children in this situation increased 14.1% from the same quarter last year, to 9,820.

This included 5,120 households which had been handed a Section 21 notice, also known as a no-fault eviction. This figure was down by 5.5% from the same quarter last year.

John Glenton, executive director of Riverside which describes itself as the largest provider of accommodation for people affected by homelessness, said the latest statistics are worrying but unsurprising.

He said: “It is very worrying to see the number of households in temporary accommodation hit their highest levels in nearly 20 years. Sadly, it is not entirely surprising.

“We now face a perfect storm of factors driving more people into homelessness while giving us fewer good options to help them when they do.”

Crisis blamed “years of inaction and failure” for bringing the country to the point where people were left “trapped in temporary accommodation”.

The charity’s chief executive, Matt Downie, said: “The homelessness system is on its knees. For the first time in nearly 20 years, the number of households living in temporary accommodation in England has exceeded 100,000.

Nick Redmore, director of the Salvation Army’s homelessness services unit, said: “These figures show how the homelessness crisis has deepened as inflation has risen. More people than ever are unable to afford a place to live, and the value of Government funding for services that support those who become homeless has been eroded.

“The true extent of homelessness is even greater than the Government’s figures. Thousands more people are living on the street, sleeping in their cars or on friends’ sofas but missing from official records.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said temporary accommodation “can mean having to move halfway across the country with their children, living a grim converted office block or sharing the bathroom of a dodgy B&B with strangers”.

She called on the Government to “immediately bring forward the long-promised Renters Reform Bill which will scrap Section 21 no-fault evictions for good”.

A DLUHC spokesman said the “forthcoming renters’ reforms will deliver a fairer, more secure and higher quality private rented sector, reducing the risk of tenants becoming homeless”.

He acknowledged there is “more to be done to help families at risk of losing their homes”, citing money already pledged for councils to help prevent and tackle homelessness and cost-of-living payments given for people most in need.

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