29 Feb 2024

Homelessness statistics released paint an increasingly grim picture

Two sets of figures have been released today (29 February 2024) demonstrating the deepening homelessness crisis in England.

The quarterly statutory homelessness statistics release in England (for 1 July and 30 September 2023) shows an increasingly worsening picture including:

  • 109,000 households in temporary accommodation, an increase of over 10 per cent on the same time last year
  • Households with children in temporary accommodation (TA) increased by over 12 per cent from the same time last year
  • A 16 per cent rise in a year on the numbers of households accepted as being owed a main homelessness duty.

The rough sleeping snapshot for autumn 2023, which provides an estimate of the number of people sleeping rough on a single night, shows a similarly grim trajectory including:

  • A 27 per cent increase in numbers of people counted as sleeping rough on the previous year. This number is 120 per cent higher than in 2010 when the snapshot approach was first introduced
  • Rough sleeping increased in every region compared to the previous year (with the largest increase in London). 

(Note due to the way the rough sleeping count is conducted figures generated are acknowledged to be underestimates as people sleeping in hidden locations are not counted)

Hannah Keilloh, Chartered Institute of Housing policy and practice lead on homelessness, commented: 

“The scale of homelessness demonstrated in these figures should leave no one in any doubt that urgent and decisive action is needed. The numbers of people counted in today’s snapshots are much higher than in 2010. It is now clear the government will not meet its manifesto promise to end rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament.

“Decent, affordable, and secure homes make our lives better – benefiting our mental and physical health and providing the secure foundation we all need. Tacking the homelessness crisis where rapidly rising numbers of households are effectively trapped in often very unsuitable temporary accommodation for increasingly long periods of time, including huge numbers of children, must be a priority for all parties ahead of the next general election. TA comes at a huge personal cost, but also a huge cost to the public purse with increasing numbers of local authorities reporting that homelessness costs are pushing them to the brink of bankruptcy. We need political commitment to turn things around. CIH are urging all political parties to commit to a long-term plan for housing which recognises it as the foundation for creating healthy and sustainable communities.”