Homelessness Reduction Bill to become law

BBC 23rd March 2016: A new law which will require earlier intervention by councils to prevent homelessness has passed its final parliamentary hurdle. The Homelessness Reduction Bill also requires councils to provide advice and help to all affected, not just those protected under existing laws. The private member’s bill, introduced by Conservative MP Bob Blackman, received government backing. The government will be providing £61m to councils to meet the costs incurred. Mr. Blackman, who claimed on Twitter it was the most expensive private member’s bill ever passed, said: “I am immensely proud of everything that has been accomplished in this bill. Read more here.

Charities referring rough sleepers to immigration enforcement teams

The Guardian 7th March 2017: Leading homelessness charities whose remit is to protect vulnerable rough sleepers have been passing information about some of them to the Home Office, leading to their removal from the UK. A report from Corporate Watch, The Round Up, reveals concerns about homelessness charities’ links to immigration enforcement and comes at a time of increasing disquiet about the involvement of landlords, schools and the NHS with immigration enforcement. Read more here

Shelter’s opinion of the government’s long awaited housing White Paper

A step, rather than a leap, in the right direction. In order to judge the White Paper properly, it’s important to understand the reasons behind the under-supply of new homes. The fundamental reason is simple: private housebuilding is overly dependent on a handful of big developers whose very business model is reliant on house prices remaining high. Why? It’s not because they are corrupt or evil. It’s because they are forced to compete with other developers to pay crazy sums for land to build on. Read more here

More than 250,000 people in England are homeless, says Shelter

The Guardian Newspaper (December 2016): Charity marks 50th anniversary by revealing homelessness hotspots including Birmingham, Bristol, Luton and Slough. More than 250,000 people in England are homeless or lack a permanent place to live, according to Shelter. Releasing figures to mark its 50th anniversary, the charity estimated that there were almost 255,000 people living in hostels and other types of temporary accommodation, or sleeping rough on the streets. Read more here.

Homelessness in Northern Ireland

The Housing Executive in Northern Ireland has a number of legal responsibilities surrounding homelessness.  These include:

  • investigating the circumstances of people who are homeless
  • providing temporary accommodation
  • providing furniture storage to people who are deemed homeless
  • making reasonable offers of permanent accommodation
  • writing to people who have failed to be deemed homeless
  • providing advice and assistance to people who are worried about homelessness.

There are about 15,000 homeless people and individuals in Northern Ireland, including the elderly, according to the Housing Executive. Annual expenditure on homelessness services in Northern Ireland is over £35m per year, of which approximately £13m is for homelessness services in Belfast for more information click here This link takes you to a BBC report, which highlights the impact and challenges faced by homeless people in Northern Ireland click here

Homelessness in Wales

  • During July to September 2016, a total of 2,250 households were assessed as threatened with homelessness within 56 days and for 1,392 households (62 per cent) homelessness was successfully prevented for at least 6 months.
  • A total of 2,655 households were assessed as being homeless and owed a duty to help secure accommodation during July to September 2016. Of these, 1,086 households (41 per cent) were helped to secure accommodation that was likely to last for 6 months, following intervention by the local authority.
  • During July to September 2016, 504 households were assessed to be unintentionally homeless and in priority need and qualified for the duty to have accommodation secured for them.  Of these, 408 (81 per cent) households accepted an offer of permanent accommodation.
  • During July to September 2016, 504 households were assessed to be unintentionally homeless and in priority need and qualified for the duty to have accommodation secured for them.  Of these, 408 (81 per cent) households accepted an offer of permanent accommodation.

Read more here

Homelessness in Scotland

This is the latest report on homelessness in Scotland undertaken by the devolved parliament, which provides information for the period 1 April to 30 September 2016 read more here.

There has been a small decrease (-1%) in the number of assessments made by Local Authorities in Scotland comparing April to September 2016 with April to September 2015 (17,332 assessment were made between April to September 2016, compared to 17,518 for the same period in 2015).  Of the 17,332 assessments made, there were 14,124 homeless or threatened with homelessness assessments. This was 2% lower than in the same period in 2015 when there were 14,391 such assessments.

Historical data, which is presented in different formats can also be found here