Briefing: Home and Away: The rise in homeless families moved away from their local area

By: Kevin Garvey and Jenny Pennington  Published: May 2016


The briefing examines the recent rise in the number of homeless households being placed in temporary accommodation outside of their home area It looks at what is driving its rise; the impact of this on households and on local authorities; the policies and practice that are governing its use; and finally, areas where changes are needed. The research focuses on what is happening in London, with lessons for other areas of England.

Summary

The number of homeless households living in temporary accommodation outside of their home area has tripled in just five years.

Out of area moves are now a regular part of homelessness support. But to what extent is this trend problematic? This question can't be answered by the official government statistics alone. They only report the number of homeless households currently living in a different council area. We know little about what these moves look like. They may be across the country – or they may be across the road from where the household lived previously. We also don't know the nature of these moves: are they by choice; are they forced; are households receiving additional support to make them work?

We analysed data recorded by London local authorities on the number of out of area placements made over the twelve months to June 2015. We supplemented this with interviews with families who had been through the process, and legal practitioners working in this area. We set out what it is going on – both in terms of how support is delivered and where people are going to, the impact this has on families and areas where changes are needed.

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