In September 2017 the National Audit Office stated that homelessness of all kinds has increased ‘significantly’ over the previous six years. In England, 2010-2017, there had been a 134% rise in the number of rise in rough sleepers and a 60% rise in households living in temporary accommodation.
Local authorities in England spent £1.15bn on homelessness services during 2015-16.
“Homelessness in all its forms has significantly increased in recent years, driven by several factors. Despite this, government has not evaluated the impact of its reforms… It is difficult to understand why the Department persisted with its light touch approach in the face of such a visibly growing problem. Its recent performance in reducing homelessness therefore cannot be considered value for money.” Amyas Morse, National Audit Office, 13 September 2017
However, the NAO data shows that in NE England the number of people housed in temporary accommodation declined 36% from 220 in 2010-11 to 140 in 2016-17. Relative to the rest of England, cases of homelessness prevented was higher and numbers in temporary accommodation or sleeping rough lower.
Why? Among the reasons given in a Newcastle Chronicle report are firstly that councils have doubled their activity to prevent families from becoming homeless and secondly that private sector rents have not risen as fast as in other areas of England.
- Explore the maps and charts associated with the NAO report Visualisation
- Homelessness rise ‘likely to have been driven by welfare reforms’ [BBC report on NAO report 13 Sep 2017]
- Ministers have lost their grip on rising homelessness, says damning report [The Guardian 13 Sep 2017]
How the North East is bucking the trend of rising homelessness [The Chronicle 13 Sep 2017] This news report includes a breakdown of some figures for different part of the NE of England.