New UK government statistics show that during much of the pandemic, over 135,000 of England households that experienced or were at risk of homelessness also had other support needs.
Homelessness charity Crisis points out the statistics show that from April 2020 – March 2021:
- Overall, 268,560 households experienced or were at risk of homelessness. This represents a 7% decrease on the year before mainly due to the protections put in place during the pandemic.
- Half of households experiencing or at risk of homelessness had one or more support need. This includes victims of domestic abuse, young people leaving their family or care, people with learning disabilities, and people with experiences of mental health problems – which was the most common support need (66,470 people overall). These experiences put greater pressure on people and can make ending people’s homelessness even harder to resolve without the right support.
- Compared to the previous year, 17% more (86,810 households) were pushed into homelessness because family or friends could no longer accommodate them – the single highest cause of homelessness in this time – and 17% more because of domestic abuse (31,190 households).
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, comments: “These statistics make painfully clear that you cannot free people from the cycle of homelessness without a proper home and crucially, the support they need to keep it long term.
“Half of the households forced into or put at risk of homelessness in the last year had one or more support need, which are harder to resolve without a stable home. For many people with multiple issues relating to mental health, trauma or addiction, short-term accommodation cannot prevent them being forced back into rough sleeping.
“We urgently need a national Housing First scheme that delivers them long term housing, alongside tailored, unconditional support to rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind for good.
“The numbers are not huge: Crisis research shows that 9,000 people who were given emergency accommodation through the Everyone In scheme need this support, out of a total of 37,000. But the difference it would make to each of their lives would be immeasurable.”