Almost 100,000 homeless households were stuck in temporary accommodation during the first national lockdown

Posted 29 Oct 2020

The government has released new figures on homelessness in England today, which show:

  • At the end of June 2020, 98,300 homeless households were living in temporary accommodation, an unprecedented rise of 7% in just three months from 92,190 households at the end of March, and a rise of 14% in a year.

  • Even with the eviction ban in place, many people were tipped into homelessness. Between April and June 2020, 63,570 households approached their local council and were found to be homeless or at risk of homelessness.

  • 17% of all homeless households supported by their council with temporary accommodation were placed into emergency B&Bs and hostels (17,180).

  • The number of households in emergency accommodation has increased by 14% in just three months – also an unprecedent rise. Some of which is likely due to the huge effort made by charities, councils and the government to get people off the streets during the first phase of the pandemic.

  • The three most common triggers of homelessness during the initial lockdown period were households no longer being able to stay with families and friends (33%), the loss of a private tenancy (11%) and domestic abuse (11%).

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter said: “No one should have to battle homelessness during a global pandemic. But this has been the grim reality for increasing numbers of people this year. And as local lockdowns continue across the country, many people will be facing this nightmare afresh.

“With the economic effects of the pandemic starting to bite and unemployment rising, tragically many more people could find themselves homeless in the months ahead. The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has magnified our housing emergency, and exposed the deep cracks left by the chronic shortage of social homes. A safe, stable home means everything right now, but we just don’t have enough of them and people are suffering terrible consequences as a result.

“If we don’t want the legacy of this pandemic to be one of lasting homelessness, then we need a Covid rescue plan for housing and we need it now. By investing £12 billion over the next two years, the government could build an extra 144,000 lower-cost homes, including 50,000 critically important social homes. These permanent homes could provide a way out of the misery of homelessness and temporary accommodation for thousands.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

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. 

  • Following the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) in April 2018 the government (MHCLG) has changed the way it collects data from local councils on statutory homelessness. The HRA has given councils new duties to assess, prevent and relieve homelessness for anyone who is eligible for assistance

  • The number of households living in temporary accommodation during the first national lockdown is the number of households that were accommodated in temporary accommodation by their local council at the end of June 2020. We compared data from 2020 Q2 with data from 2019 Q2 and 2020 Q1. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory homelessness live tables, Table TA1

  • The number of households that were placed in emergency B&Bs and hostels is the number of households accommodated in B&Bs and hostels at the end of June 2020. We compared data from 2020 Q2 with data from 2020 Q1. The number of households accommodated in B&Bs or hostels increased from 15,050 households at the end of March 2020 to 17,180 households at the end of June 2020. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory homelessness live tables, Table TA1

  • The number of households that approached their local council and were found to be homeless or at risk of homelessness is the number of households that were owed a prevention or relief duty by their local council from April to June 2020. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory homelessness live tables, Table A1

  • The three most common triggers of homelessness during the initial lockdown period are the three most common reasons for loss, or threat of loss, of households’ last settled home between April and June 2020. 20,710 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). 7,090 households owed a prevention or relief duty lost their last settled home because their AST ended. 7,170 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