Almost 100,000 households recorded as homeless at the start of 2021

Posted 22 Apr 2021

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

  • At the end of December 2020, 95,370 homeless households were living in temporary accommodation, an 8% increase in a year (an additional 7,060 households)

  • Even with the eviction ban in place, tens of thousands of people were tipped into homelessness last winter - 62,250 households approached their local council and were found to be homeless or at risk of homelessness between Oct and Dec 2020.

  • One in six (17%) households were placed into emergency B&Bs and hostels.

  • 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: “To say the last year has been difficult for homeless families is a gross understatement, it’s been atrocious. Months of lockdown and school closures spent in cramped, shoddy temporary accommodation with no space to learn or work, and often without access to basics like the internet or a washing machine.

“The economic impact of the pandemic has exposed the true cost of decades of failure to build the social homes we need. More than 60,000 households were tipped into homelessness last winter – even with the evictions ban. In just over a month the ban on evictions is going to lift, and even more struggling families could be faced with the same fate.

“Despite the clear danger that homelessness will rise, the government remains focused on expensive homeownership schemes, rather than anything resembling truly affordable housing. If the government wants this country to recover quickly from the pandemic, investing in a new generation of secure social homes is an absolute must.”

ENDS

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. 

Notes to editors:

  • 95,370 households were reported as living in temporary accommodation on 31st December 2020, compared to 88,310 on 31st December 2019. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table TA1.

  • 62,250 households approached their local council and were found to be homeless or at risk of homelessness between October and December 2020. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table A1

  • 10,510 households living in temporary accommodation on 31st December 2020 were living in bed and breakfasts and 5,690 were living in hostels. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Table TA1.

  • 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 October and December 2020. 19,820 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). 7,840 households owed a prevention or relief duty lost their last settled home because their AST ended. 7,270 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