Number of households in temporary accommodation now more than 104,000

New Government statistics released today have shown the growing problem of homelessness.

The data showed a 9% increase in households experiencing homelessness and owed a ‘relief duty’ when compared to the previous year.

Households in temporary accommodation increased by 10% to stand at 104,510 at the end of March.

John Glenton, executive director of Riverside Care and Support, said: “It is extremely concerning to see that the number of households living in temporary accommodation has increased by 10% year-on-year to more than 104,000.

“The number of people living in temporary accommodation or facing homelessness is becoming a growing humanitarian crisis in England, particularly for families living together in single room B&Bs.

“For too many families temporary accommodation becomes a prolonged situation with more than a fifth of households with children living in temporary accommodation for five years or more.

“Living in temporary accommodation can be devastating for people and families and also damaging for the finances of government and local government. This needs to change.

“The latest data released yesterday shows that £1.7 billion was spent on placing households in temporary accommodation in 2022/23 a 9% increase year-on-year and spending on B&Bs has risen by a third (33%) year-on-year, despite the problems that living in single room accommodation can cause for families.

“The longer-term trend is spending on temporary accommodation overall has more than doubled in seven years.

“Meanwhile councils like Hastings have said they are at risk of bankruptcy with more than 1,000 people living in temporary accommodation.

“It is important to acknowledge that our government has had to deal with an unprecedented series of crises including the devastation of Covid and the worst cost-of-living crisis for 40 years.

“However, we now have a government which says it is determined to take long-term decisions for a brighter future.

“We want the government to apply this logic of long-term decision making to the housing and homelessness crisis we now face.

“We know that having a national plan for tackling homelessness and investing in it for the long-term delivers results.

“The last time the number of households in temporary accommodation exceeded 100,000 was in 2004 when a series of reforms was introduced which more than halved the number of people in temporary accommodation in six years.

“These reforms included more investment in homeless hostels, supported housing and move-on accommodation with a focus on rehabilitation and resettlement of people affected by homelessness into long-term housing.

“Specialist mental health teams for people affected by homelessness were also introduced, as was an increased focus on prevention to help people to maintain tenancies.

“While some of these services are being offered by some providers now, the implementation of it is patchy and inconsistent and limited by short term commissioning.

“In 2004 we had a national programme of reforms supported by long-term ring-fenced grant funding to local authorities which enabled councils to focus on helping people to live independently.

“We believe there is a clear need for the government to commit to delivering more than 90,000 new homes a year for social rent and to ring-fence and increase long-term revenue funding for supported housing for people affected by homelessness. We believe this spending should at least match the £1.6bn per year allocated to local authorities in England in 2010.”