Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2022 to 2025

3. What the data review is telling us

As noted above, in 2020 to 21, almost 2,000 households approached the Council for advice and support in relation to homelessness. The Council had a statutory duty to assist (i.e. to prevent and/or relieve homelessness) in over 90% of cases. Homelessness was successfully prevented in over half of these cases, meaning that the household was able to remain in the existing accommodation with support and/or intervention from the Council. Around one third of cases were supported to make a planned move to alternative accommodation, generally either a private sector let or social housing (including supported housing).

The majority of those where a housing duty applied were single people without children. The HRA requires the Council to prevent and relieve homelessness for this group and there is no test of vulnerability or other threshold criteria at this stage. The next largest group were single parents. Not surprisingly, most of the heads of households were aged 25 to 44. Just under one third were in work; around one third were unemployed. One in ten were unable to work due to a disability.

The main reasons people became homeless were:

  • friends/family no longer willing to accommodate
  • ending of private sector tenancy
  • non-violent relationship breakdown
  • domestic abuse
  • end of social rented tenancy
  • other reasons included leaving an institution (prison, hospital etc) harassment and eviction from supported housing

In many cases, there are underlying reasons for homelessness; often these include debt, ill-health, or another vulnerability.

Most households threatened with becoming homeless live either in the private rented sector, or with family or friends. A smaller number live in social rented housing, are homeless on leaving an institution, or have no fixed abode. Some will have been rough sleeping.

Many households threatened with homelessness have a support need. The main reasons for needing support include:

  • mental health
  • physical health and disability
  • domestic abuse
  • offending history
  • repeat homelessness
  • drug/Alcohol dependency
  • history of rough sleeping
  • learning disability
  • those aged 18 to 25 requiring support to manage independently