Evidence base for preventing homelessness and rough sleeping strategy
A report commissioned by the previous Councils from ORS and Atkins, published in 2015, looked at the Housing Market Areas and Functional Economic Market Areas for what is now the new County, and neighbouring authorities. The report identified four distinct housing markets: Aylesbury Town, High Wycombe/Amersham, Milton Keynes and Slough/Maidenhead. These areas also correlate to the broad market rental areas as defined by ONS. However, only Milton Keynes met the threshold for travel to work to be identified as a strategic housing market area, the others should be considered as local housing market areas or sub-markets. Strong links were identified between what was then the South Bucks area and the Reading and Slough housing market area.
From a homelessness perspective, it is sufficient to note that there are different housing markets in the area. In practical terms, long-term homelessness is best prevented if households can remain within areas where they have support from family or friends, and where children can remain within the same school and friendship group. This has to be balanced with the shortage of accommodation overall. The question of affordability is also complex: some areas may have slightly lower rents but if this reduces access to public transport and local facilities, the overall cost of living may be similar or even higher.