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Briefing: Temporary Accommodation and the cost of homelessness in London

By: Reshima Sharma
Published: February 2020

Briefing: Temporary Accommodation and the cost of homelessness in London

Shelter is the UK’s largest housing and homelessness charity. Last year we gave information, support and advice to millions of people experiencing bad housing and homelessness.

The increasing amount that councils are spending on temporary accommodation is a stark reminder of the growing cost of homelessness and the housing emergency. Instead of investing in the social housing that would end the housing emergency, public money is currently being spent on dealing with its impact: rising homelessness. In 2018/19 local authorities in England spent £1.1 billion on temporary accommodation. This figure has increased by 78% over the last five years. Over the same period, the number of households accommodated in temporary accommodation increased by 45%.

Key recommendations:

  • Shelter is calling for a commitment to increase the number of social homes built. Research suggests we need at least 90,000 social homes a year to tackle the housing emergency.

  • Loss of a private tenancy remains a leading cause of homelessness and Shelter welcomes the government’s commitment to scrap Section 21 “no fault” evictions. This will be vital in protecting private renters at the sharpest end of the housing emergency.

  • The difference between Local Housing Allowance rates and local rents is causing debt, poverty and homelessness. Local Housing Allowance rates must be restored to reflect at least the bottom 30th percentile (i.e. the cheapest 30%) of local market rents.