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Errr.... Houston we have a problem

Errr.... Houston we have a problem

Statutory homeless – sounds horrible doesn’t it – a household is considered homeless if they no longer have a legal right to occupy their accommodation or if it would no longer be reasonable to continue to live there, for example if living there would lead to violence against them – certainly not getting any better.

The latest DCLG statistics* were released yesterday providing data for October to December 2015 and it does not make pleasant reading.

  • 29,250 applications for assistance
  • 49% were “accepted” (owed a duty)

Nationally the number of households accepted as statutory homeless increased by 6% and this figure rose to 10% in London.

The majority of households include children (68%) and the main reason for the loss of the previous home was the ending of an assured short hold tenancy with a private landlord (30% nationally and 40% in London. The ending of an AST tenancy has increased to the main reason in the last 6 years and has been the number one driver of homelessness in the last 15 quarters.

When a household becomes homeless and a duty is owed the Local Authority must provide accommodation. Frequently this is provided by way of Temporary Accommodation.

There are currently 69,140 households in the UK living in temporary accommodation – this has increased 12% in the last year.

The majority of temporary accommodation is self-contained (85%) however, there is growth in the number of households in temporary accommodation with shared facilities (9%) and the number of households in other private sector accommodation (13%) a lot of which is very costly nightly accommodation.

Alarmingly 27% (18,670) households in temporary accommodation are accommodated in another local authority district an increase of 17% in the last year.

This is so disheartening to see the problem getting worse all the while there are effective and innovative solutions available and companies tearing their hair out (including QED) at the barriers we must jump through to deliver this much needed temporary accommodation.

Particularly given the financial constraints in which Local Authorities are being asked to operate under and the long-term impact living in unsuitable temporary accommodation may have on future generations.

How much worse does it need to get before people in power site up and take note……..

* DCLG (2016) Homelessness Statistical Release 23 March 2016. Statutory Homelessness: October to December Quarter 2015

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