Black people are more than three times as likely to experience homelessness
Posted 01 Oct 2020
The government has today released annual figures on the prevention and relief of homelessness in England. They show that between April 2019 and March 2020:
Black people are disproportionately affected by homelessness with 1 in 23 black households becoming homeless or threatened with homelessness, versus 1 in 83 households from all other ethnicities combined.
11% of homeless people applying for help are black even though black people make up 3% of households in England.
A quarter (24%) of people making homelessness applications to local councils are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups, even though they make up just over a tenth (11%) of all households in England.
A person who is Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) becomes homeless or threatened with homelessness every eight minutes.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter said: “On the first day of Black History Month, it is vital we address the deep inequality and systemic racism that persists in the housing system and continues to deny thousands a safe home. It is both telling and appalling to see black people and others who are BAME disproportionately impacted by homelessness.
“We must act fast, because the pandemic we are now enduring is only intensifying the housing emergency and its destructive inequalities. We know black people are more likely to be homeless or live in overcrowded homes putting them at greater risk from this virus.
“But right now, the government is failing to prevent homelessness because it’s not doing enough to increase the number of decent, genuinely affordable, social homes. Through social housing, the government has the capacity to provide the sanctuary of a safe home. We can’t allow the legacy of Covid-19 to be one of rising homelessness and shattered lives.”
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:
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.
Black people are 3.6 times more likely to experience homelessness than all other ethnic groups. Between April 2019 and March 2020, 1 in 23 households with a Black person as the household reference person (HRP) became homeless or threatened with homelessness, compared with 1 in 83 households of all other ethnic groups as the HRP. We recognise that the HRP does not necessarily represent the ethnicity of all members of the household.
The number of people making homelessness applications who are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) is the proportion of main homeless applicants who are found to be homeless or threatened with homelessness and are Black/Black British, Asian/Asian British, Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups or Other ethnic groups. This is available at MHCLG, Statutory homelessness live tables, Detailed local authority level tables: financial year 2019-20, Table A8.
The proportion of households in England who are BAME is the proportion of households whose household reference person is Black/Black British, Asian/Asian British, Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups or Other ethnic groups. This is available at Office of National Statistics: Census 2011 DC1201EW - Household composition by ethnic group of Household Reference Person
Black people are more likely to live in overcrowded homes compared to White British households. In the three years to March 2019, 2% of White British households were overcrowded, compared with 16% of Black African households and 7% of Black Caribbean households. This is available at: https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/housing/housing-conditions/overcrowded-households/latest