A household became homeless every 3 minutes during the last lockdown

Posted 22 Jul 2021

The government has today released new figures on homelessness in England for the period January to March 2021 – during the last national lockdown. They show:

  • Despite the eviction ban being in place, 68,250 new households approached their local council and were found to be homeless or at risk of homelessness. 

  • During the national lockdown, a household became homeless every three minutes.

  • 95,450 households were living in temporary accommodation (TA), of whom 59,120 were families. That means 119,830 children were living in TA at the end of March.

  • One in five (18%) homeless households were placed into emergency B&Bs and hostels, where living conditions are notoriously poor and cramped, and need to move onto a permanent and secure home.

  • The three most common triggers of homelessness during the period were: households no longer being able to stay with families and friends (32%), the loss of a private tenancy (13%) and domestic abuse (12%).

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It is a scary sign of the times that even the eviction ban couldn’t stop thousands of families becoming homeless in early 2021. Now the ban has lifted far more people could be faced with the brutal reality of homelessness.

“The bottom line is that there aren’t enough social homes, which has created a massive bottleneck, trapping huge numbers of people in crummy temporary accommodation. How can anyone call a rat-infested room no bigger than a prison cell, home?

“If the country is to stand a chance of recovering from the pandemic, the government must urgently invest in a new generation of quality social housing. Last year we built fewer than 7,000 new social homes. We can and must do better.”

Anyone who is facing homelessness can get free and expert advice from Shelter by visiting www.shelter.org.uk/get_help or by calling our emergency helpline on 0808 800 4444.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • 95,450 households were reported as living in temporary accommodation on 31st March 2021. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table TA1.

  • 119,830 children were reported as living in temporary accommodation on 31st March 2021. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table TA1.

  • 68,250 households approached their local council and were found to be homeless or at risk of homelessness between January and March 2021. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table A1.

  • The rate at which a household became homeless in the last quarter is calculated by dividing the total number of minutes from 1st January to 31st March (128,160) by the number of households that were owed a relief duty in the same period. 36,800 households were owed a relief duty from January to March 2021. This is available at MHCLG, Statutory Homelessness Live tables, Initial assessments of statutory homelessness duties owed, Table A1.

  • The three most common triggers of homelessness are the three most common reasons for loss, or threat of loss, of households’ last settled home between January and March 2021. 21,750 households owed a prevention or relief duty lost their last settled home because they were no longer able to stay with family or friends. The loss of a private tenancy is the ending of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST). 9,080 households owed a prevention or relief duty lost their last settled home because their AST ended. 8,050 households owed a prevention or relief duty lost their last settled home due to domestic abuse. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table A2.

  • 11,170 households living in temporary accommodation on 31st March 2021 were living in bed and breakfasts and 5,570 were living in hostels. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table TA1.