27 Sep 2022

Statutory homelessness annual report released

The latest annual statutory homelessness statistical release from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities was published for England on 23 September 2022. This release is for the period 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022 and shows several concerning trends.

Key findings include:

  • 278,110 households were assessed as either being threatened with homelessness or already homeless. This is an increase of 3 per cent from the previous year of 2020 -2021 (but is still lower than pre-covid numbers). This increase is driven by the increase in households assessed as being ‘threatened with homelessness’ (11 per cent increase on 2020 – 2021), while households assessed as ‘already homeless’ had decreased by 4 per cent.
  • The end of the ban on evictions is clearly having an impact, with more people at risk of homelessness coming from the private rented sector (up 57 per cent to 56,000 households).
  • There has been a huge increase in numbers due to Section21 no-fault eviction, which is up over 120 per cent to 19,790 households.
  • More working people are also facing homelessness, this was up 16 per cent to 68,010 households.
  • There has been an increase in the number of families facing homelessness which has increased by 24 per cent to 93,290 households.
  • There has been a 13 per cent increase in households where the lead applicant was Asian, and an 8 per cent increase where the lead applicant was Black.

These statistics present a worrying picture. Combined with predictions in the same week from the latest Kerslake Commission report cautioning that the cost of living crisis could have a ‘catastrophic’ impact on homelessness without significant government action and the APPG on ending homelessness reporting that without further urgent and impactful action the government will not meet its manifesto commitment to end rough sleeping in England by 2024, the sector is right to be extremely concerned. Last week’s mini budget did not provide the targeted support needed to get people through this winter and avoid rapid increases in the number of people being homeless or faced with homelessness.

This statistical release identifies that the number of people threatened with homelessness is growing as is the number of people who are in work but facing homelessness, demonstrating how close people already are to being pushed to the financial cliff edge as the cost of living crisis begins to bite. A situation where over 900,000 families are facing homelessness (a sharp increase on last year's figures) is wholly unacceptable.

The huge rise in the number of private sector evictions leading to homelessness is very concerning. The government first outlined its plan to ban ‘no fault’ Section 21 evictions in 2019 and must bring through the full reforms outlined in the recent rental reform white paper in the current parliament.