Much has been written on temporary accommodation in the UK, over the past few months. In fact, recent figures released by the House of Commons in their report Households in Temporary Accommodation (England) dictates there has been a 60% increase in the number of households in temporary accommodation in just six, short years. It’s a crisis; affirmed by news coverage and official comments.
Jon Sparkes, chief Executive at Crisis, offers this statement – as cited by The Independent:
“The number of households in the worst forms of temporary accommodation is set to double by 2026 if nothing is done to address the problem.”
What is Temporary Accommodation?
Local housing authorities in England have a duty to secure accommodation for unintentionally homeless households in priority need, under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996.
When a household makes an application to a local authority for assistance with homelessness, the authority is under a duty to carry out inquiries to satisfy itself as to what level of duty is owed to a homeless applicant. Households might be placed in temporary accommodation pending the completion of inquiries into an application, or they might spend time waiting in temporary accommodation after an application is accepted, until suitable secure accommodation becomes available.
Authorities use a range of types of temporary accommodation, the most controversial of which is bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation*. Others include:
- Private sector rented housing.
- Social housing on short-term tenancies.
- Host/refuge accommodation (sometimes with shared facilities.)
- Supported lodgings and mobile homes.
Various initiatives have been pursued to try to limit the use of unsuitable B&B-type temporary accommodation. For example, local authorities have focused on securing private rented housing through lease agreements with private landlords.
Authorities, particularly in areas of high housing demand, argue that their ability to do this has been affected by Housing Benefit reforms, which mean that landlords can secure higher returns from letting their properties on the open market to non-Housing Benefit claimants; although not all homeless applicants are in receipt of Housing Benefit.
One response has been for authorities to seek temporary accommodation outside their own areas.
Image credit: Nelosa/Shutterstock
Sellhousefast.uk, who help homeowners with the prospect of repossession, decided to investigate the temporary accommodation crisis, to determine an accurate number of those affected and where in the UK the highest levels of temporary accommodation can be found.
Utilising the report Households in Temporary Accommodation (England), which holds the most recent quarterly statistics, Sellhousefast found 78,930 households were placed in temporary accommodation at the end of December 2017. This signifies an increase of 4.2% on 2016 figures, taken from the same quarter.
Furthermore, it is households with vulnerable and dependent children who are becoming increasingly affected. The 78,930 households in temporary accommodation at the end of 2017, includes 120,510 children, representing a 75% increase over the last six years.
Of the 78,930 households in temporary accommodation end of December 2017, 22,150 (28%) were in accommodation in another local authority’s district. This is an increase of 1% from 21,920, for the same period recorded in 2016. Altogether, the number of households placed in temporary accommodation outside of their local authority has increased by 201% over the last six years.
The March 2018 quarterly statistics marks the twenty-sixth time that the number of households in temporary accommodation is higher than in the same quarter of the previous year.
In breaking down the data and analysing the results, Sellhousefast.uk discovered (outside of London) Birmingham has the highest number of households in temporary accommodation – at 1,951 in quarter 4 of 2017. This total is followed by Brighton and Hove (1,666), Manchester (1500) and Luton – with 1,279 households in temporary accommodation.
Share this Image On Your Site
Numbers drop to lower levels thereafter, yet districts in England such as Milton Keynes (726), Bristol (479) and Broxbourne (475) continue to highlight just how many individuals require temporary accommodation services.
The top 5 districts in England with the lowest rate of households in temporary accommodation include:
- Mendip (6)
- Rushcliffe (6)
- Vale of White Horse (6)
- Bassetlaw (5)
- Lancaster (5)
*The top 5 districts in England with the highest rate of Bed and Breakfast temporary accommodation (deemed to be the most “controversial” type) include:
- Birmingham (495)
- Manchester (136)
- Peterborough (126)
- Slough (74)
- Gloucester (63)
Feature image credit: Andrii Yalanskyi/Shutterstock