Thousands are struggling to survive the pandemic while homeless

Posted 28 Jan 2021

The government has released new figures on homelessness in England today for the period July to September 2020, which show:

  • Even with curbs on legal evictions, many households were tipped into homelessness over the summer. Almost 70,000 households approached their local council and were found to be homeless or at risk of homelessness.

  • Between July and September 2020, councils were only able to help one in five (20%) households at risk of homelessness to stay in their existing home.

  • Half (49%) of households found to be homeless by their local council were not helped to find a home – showing the impact of a lack of suitable social housing.

  • The three most common triggers of homelessness between July and September were households no longer being able to stay with families and friends (33%), the loss of a private tenancy (13%) and domestic abuse (12%).

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Coronavirus (COVID-19) has ripped open the cracks left by the gross shortage of decent social homes in this country. Thousands of people are struggling to survive the pandemic without a home thanks to decades of political neglect.

“Even with the curbs on legal evictions, people are still being thrown into homelessness, as they have throughout this emergency. From the taxi driver sleeping rough because the council say they cannot help, to the mother fleeing domestic abuse in search of a place of safety, this pandemic continues to be a never-ending nightmare.

“Too many people have suffered too much. The government cannot continue to fail its citizens by allowing homelessness to rise through inaction. There is only one exit strategy that will end this crisis for good, and that is rapid investment in genuinely affordable social homes.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

68,680 households approached their local council and were found to be homeless or at risk of homelessness between July and September 2020. This is available at: MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory homelessness live tables, 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 July and September 2020. 22,550 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). 9,190 households owed a prevention or relief duty lost their last settled home because their AST ended. 8,120 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

To calculate the percentage of homeless households who have not been helped to secure a home we have included households for whom the 56 days have elapsed, households the council have lost contact with and households who refused the final accommodation. The figures are for July to September 2020. This is available at MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory homelessness live tables, Relief duty outcomes, Table R1

The percentage of households at risk of homelessness that were able to stay in their existing home is the percentage of households owed a prevention duty who were able to stay in their existing accommodation. This is available at MHCLG, Live tables on homelessness, Statutory homelessness live tables, Prevention duty outcomes, Table P1