Poverty and Inequality

25.04.18

‘Hidden homeless’ must be recognised in government figures, says charity

The number of people living in unsupported temporary accommodation (UTA) is almost ten times higher than official figures, research has shown.

Research carried out by Justlife, ‘Lifting the lid on hidden homelessness: A new analysis,’ reveals that in the last 12 months, there were over 51,500 individuals and families living in bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation in England, compared to government figures of just 5,870.

The researchers also argue that there are many more people in other types of unsupported temporary accommodation.

The charity sent a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to all 326 local authorities in English asking how many private tenants were claiming housing benefits from B&Bs between 2010-11 and 2015-16.

Between these dates there was an increase in local authority placements of people into B&B accommodation, along with a reduction in so called “self-placement”.

Justlife believes that this reduction is, in part, due to the implementation of Universal Credit, under which B&B landlords will receive smaller housing payments, leading to some landlords no longer accepting residents claiming Universal Credit.

It suggests that this may be linked to the increase in the numbers of people sleeping rough which England has seen, given that many individuals cycle between sleeping rough and UTA.

Another recent report by Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Founation suggested that there could be 100,000 people living in temporary accommodation by 2020.

Following the research, Justlife has warned that where people are hidden, they are not heard and their needs are not met.

The report calls for recognition of the close relationship between UTA and more commonly recognised forms of homelessness in attempts to address the problem in England because “there are far more hidden homeless households living in UTA than most of us in England are aware.”

It recommends that those living in UTA are included in the formal definitions of homelessness, including those used by the government, and advises that the government should record and publish the number of licences living in UTA as part of its wider reporting of homelessness statistics.

It also calls for private B&B accommodation to be included in the exceptions to Universal Credit, ensuring awards of housing benefit to residents of B&Bs are under the higher ‘board and attendance’ rate, as opposed to Local Housing Allowance.

Finally, the study recommends the creation of a temporary accommodation board in each local authority area, ensuring that UTA would no longer operate outside of scope of relevant agencies and stakeholders.

The charity said: “It is time for change, we need to stop merely watching and commentating on this appalling situation and work together, local authorities, residents, landlords, services, health professionals and politicians.”

Top image: rowbridge Estate

 

Enjoying PSE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Councillors approve plans for HS2 transformation at Leeds Station

17/10/2018Councillors approve plans for HS2 transformation at Leeds Station

Councillors have endorsed a “milestone” plan to transform Leeds station in preparation for HS2 arriving in the area. The Leeds C... more >
Scandal-hit Conservative council elects Labour leader

16/10/2018Scandal-hit Conservative council elects Labour leader

Labour have managed to take control of a Conservative-led council following an “internal war” among the Tory councillors, with Labour... more >
Former Westminster council pensions boss found guilty of £1m fraud

16/10/2018Former Westminster council pensions boss found guilty of £1m fraud

A former employee of Westminster City Council has been found guilty of stealing nearly £1m from the council pension fund. Ian Woodall,... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
Councillors approve plans for HS2 transformation at Leeds Station

17/10/2018Councillors approve plans for HS2 transformation at Leeds Station

Councillors have endorsed a “milestone” plan to transform Leeds station in preparation for HS2 arriving in the area. The Leeds City Council executive board approved the strategic... more >
Thousands of babies at risk of harm due to children’s services cuts

17/10/2018Thousands of babies at risk of harm due to children’s services cuts

Almost 16,000 babies are growing up in “toxic” households where they are at risk of harm following unprecedented financial strain on children’ services, according to a report by... more >

the raven's daily blog

What cities should become

15/10/2018What cities should become

Tom Leaver, project manager at Future Cities Catapult, examines the rationale behind the creation of the City Data Sharing Toolkit, and explores how this is driving a seismic shift in how cities evolve into our data-rich future. We’re used to big-screen sci-fi future cities being dystopian monoliths to everything wrong with the worl... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Inspiring leadership in social value

15/10/2018Inspiring leadership in social value

We have learned a lot since the last National Social Value Conference, with many organisations both in the public and private sectors now embeddi... more >
Is fair funding possible, or pie in the sky?

15/10/2018Is fair funding possible, or pie in the sky?

David Phillips, associate director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, discusses the current health of local government finance, and how a bette... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >
The Convention of the North

15/10/2018The Convention of the North

Steve Rotheram, mayor of the Liverpool City Region, discusses the findings of the very first Convention of the North, which was held in Newcastle... more >

interviews

Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >
Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

06/08/2018Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

Michael King first joined the Local Government Ombudsman service back in 2004 as deputy ombudsman. At the start of 2017, he was appointed as the ... more >
Helping a city understand itself

06/08/2018Helping a city understand itself

SPONSORED INTERVIEW The urban landscape is changing. How can local authorities keep up with citizen behaviour? Stephen Leece, managing directo... more >
Modern policing: the future is bright

06/08/2018Modern policing: the future is bright

SPONSORED INTERVIEW The public sector, and policing in particular, has often been criticised as being slow to adapt to change. But now, says L... more >

public sector focus

View all News