Section: Homelessness & Rough Sleeping

Welfare reforms are exacerbating youth homelessness new research reveals

Posted 18.04.18
Homeless Link: Article link

Welfare reforms are contributing to homelessness among young people aged 16 to 24 by affecting their ability to access and sustain housing, according to Homeless Link's Young & Homeless 2018 report.

The research is based on surveys with local authorities, youth homelessness services and interviews with young people experiencing homelessness in England.

It finds that while family breakdown remains the main cause of homelessness among young people, making up half of cases (49%), structural factors including changes to welfare benefit entitlements and a lack of affordable housing are also significant contributory factors.

92% of survey respondents identified delayed Universal Credit payments as having an impact on youth homelessness, with 90% and 80% respectively reporting that sanctions and the capping of the Local Housing Allowance are also having an effect.

Although the Government's recent reversal of proposals to remove Universal Credit housing costs for 18-to-21-year-olds is welcome, it highlights the need to consider the impact that other elements of policy may be having on vulnerable young people.


70% of councils in England struggle to find housing for homeless people

Posted 12.04.18
Crisis: Article link

The majority of local councils in England are struggling to find any stable housing for homeless people in their area, leaving them forced to place more and more people in unstable temporary accommodation, according to a new report from Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

As housing supply dwindles and rents outstrip wages and benefits, 70% of local authorities surveyed for the report said they had difficulties finding social housing for homeless people last year.

As a result, many councils have found themselves forced to place ever more homeless people in temporary accommodation, including B&Bs and hostels.

The report warns that 78,000 homeless households in England are in temporary accommodation and, if current trends continue, more than 100,000 such households will be trapped in temporary accommodation by 2020.

The above link gives access to the main findings of the report.


Deaths of UK homeless people more than double in five years

Posted 11.04.18
The Guardian: Article link

The number of homeless people recorded dying on streets or in temporary accommodation has more than doubled over the last five years in the UK.

With people found dead in supermarket car parks, church graveyards and crowded hostels, the number of deaths has risen year on year, from 31 in 2013 to 70 in 2017. At least 230 people have died over that period.

The figures compiled by the Guardian, which include an average of more than one death a week in 2017, are likely to be a substantial underestimate, as no part of the UK government records homeless death statistics at a national level, and local authorities are not required to count rough sleeper deaths.

According to the Guardian's figures, the average age of a rough sleeper at death was 43, nearly half the UK life expectancy.


Cross-government plan of action aims to reduce the number of people sleeping rough

Posted 03.04.18
GOV.UK: Article link

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has set out a cross-government plan of action to significantly reduce the number of people sleeping rough.

The new package of measures includes:

- a new Rough Sleeping Team made up of rough sleeping and homelessness experts, drawn from, and funded by government departments and agencies with specialist knowledge across a wide-range of areas from housing, mental health to addiction;

- a £30 million fund for 2018 to 2019 with further funding agreed for 2019 to 2020, targeted at local authorities with high numbers of people sleeping rough; and

- £100,000 funding to support frontline Rough Sleeping workers across the country, to make sure they have the right skills and knowledge to work with vulnerable rough sleepers.

In addition, the government is also working with the National Housing Federation to look at providing additional, coordinated move-on accommodation for rough sleepers across the country.

The Homelessness Reduction Act, which places new duties on councils to prevent and relieve homelessness, including for single homeless people who are at greater risk of sleeping rough, shortly comes into force.


Quick Links

Updated 05.04.18

  • Shelter: Shake up to council duties to tackle homelessness starts today - Blog: Deborah Garvie.
  • GOV.UK: Legal advice will now be available in England for anyone threatened with homelessness within 56 days - new rules came into effect on 3 April 2018.
  • World Habitat: One in five of Brighton's street homeless are in paid work - the headline findings of a recent Connections Week.
  • Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH): CIH welcomes government's new rough sleeping initiative but says strategy on causes of homelessness still desperately needed - including looking at the wider context for homelessness.
  • Homeless Link: Homeless Link responds to the government's new rough sleeping initiative - whilst welcoming the proposals, warns that the national strategy must prioritises tackling the structural causes of the problem.

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