The homelessness monitor: England 2021 - Crisis

Executive Summary

The homelessness monitor:
England 2021
Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Beth Watts, Hal Pawson,
Glen Bramley, Jenny Wood, Mark Stephens & Janice
Blenkinsopp. Institute for Social Policy, Housing and
Equalities Research (I-SPHERE), Heriot-Watt University;
City Futures Research Centre, University of New South
Wales; School of Social and Political Sciences, University
of Glasgow

March 2021
ii      The homelessness monitor: England 2021                                                                                                   iii

     The homelessness monitor                                                       The homelessness monitor:
     The homelessness monitor is a longitudinal study providing an independent
     analysis of the homelessness impacts of recent economic and policy
                                                                                    England 2021
     developments across the United Kingdom. Separate reports are produced
     for each of the United Kingdom nations.                                        Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Beth Watts, Hal Pawson,
     This ninth annual report updates our account of how homelessness stands
                                                                                    Glen Bramley, Jenny Wood, Mark Stephens & Janice
     in England in 2020, or as close to 2020 as data availability allows. It also   Blenkinsopp. Institute for Social Policy, Housing and
     highlights emerging trends and forecasts some of the likely future changes,
     identifying the developments likely to have the most significant impacts on    Equalities Research (I-SPHERE), Heriot-Watt University;
     homelessness.                                                                  City Futures Research Centre, University of New South
                                                                                    Wales; School of Social and Political Sciences, University
                                                                                    of Glasgow

                                                                                    March 2021
iv   The homelessness monitor: England 2021                                                                                            v

                                                About Crisis
                                                Crisis is the national charity for homeless people. We help people directly
                                                out of homelessness, and campaign for the social changes needed to solve it
                                                altogether. We know that together we can end homelessness.

                                                About the authors
                                                Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Dr Beth Watts, Professor Glen Bramley, Dr Jenny
                                                Wood and Dr Janice Blenkinsopp are all based at the Institute for Social Policy,
                                                Housing, and Equalities Research (I-SPHERE). Professor Hal Pawson is based at
                                                the City Futures Research Centre, University of New South Wales. Professor Mark
                                                Stephens is based at the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of

                                                This report was commissioned and funded by Crisis, and our thanks go to Sophie
                                                Boobis, Dr Francesca Albanese and Matthew Downie at Crisis for all of their
                                                support with this work. In addition, we are extremely grateful to all of the key
                                                informants from the statutory and voluntary sector organisations across England
                                                who found time amid the COVID-19-related pressures to help us with this, and
                                                likewise to all 148 local authorities who completed the online questionnaire
                                                despite the extraordinary strain they were under as a result of the pandemic.
                                                We would like to record our sincere appreciation for Rhiannon Sims’ excellent
                                                analysis of social security and housing policy developments that we were able
                                                to draw on in preparing Chapter 2 of this report. We would also like to thank Dr
                                                Filip Sosenko for his assistance in setting up the survey, Jill McIntyre for all her
                                                help with chasing survey responses and with the overall logistics of the project,
                                                and Lynne McMordie for undertaking the formatting and proofing tasks (all

                                                Disclaimer: All views and any errors contained in this report are the responsibility
               Crisis head office               of the authors. The views expressed should not be assumed to be those of Crisis
               66 Commercial Street             or any of the key informants who assisted with this work.
               London E1 6LT
               Tel: 0300 636 1967
               Fax: 0300 636 2012
               © Crisis 2020

               Crisis UK (trading as Crisis).
               Registered Charity Numbers:

               E&W1082947, SC040094.
               Company Number: 4024938
vi   The homelessness monitor: England 2021                                                                                                                      vii


               Figures                                                            viii   5. Core homelessness numbers and trends                          59
               Tables                                                               x    5.1	Introduction                                                 59
               Acronyms                                                            xii   5.2	Baseline estimates of core homelessness                      63
               Executive summary                                                  xiv    5.3	Core homelessness, trends and profiles                       65
                                                                                         5.4	Key points                                                   70
               1. Introduction                                                      1
               1.1 Introduction                                                     1    6. P  rojections of core homelessness                             72
               1.2 Scope of report                                                  1    6.1	Introduction                                                  72
               1.3 Research methods                                                 2    6.2	The baseline projections and COVID-19                         74
               1.4	Causation and homelessness                                      2    6.3	Direct measures and early priorities in immediate
               1.5	Structure of report                                             3         post-COVID-19 period                                         78
                                                                                         6.4	Variant policy and contextual scenarios in the medium term   80
               2. T  he context for homelessness: wider economic,                       6.5	Key points                                                   86
                    housing, and welfare drivers                                   4
               2.1	Introduction                                                   4     7.   Conclusions                                                 88
               2.2	The social and economic context                                4
               2.3	Housing policies and the housing market                       8     Appendix 1 Topic guide (2020)                                     92
               2.4	Income support policies                                      14
               2.5	Key points                                                    22     Appendix 2 Local authority survey (2020)                          95

               3. H  omelessness policies                                        24     Appendix 3 Additional details on core homelessness
               3.1	Introduction                                                  24     estimates and projection                                          102
               3.2	The COVID-19 crisis response                                  24
               3.3	The impact of pre-COVID-19 homelessness policies: the Rough          Bibliography                                                      112
                     Sleepers Initiative and Homelessness Reduction Act 2017      30
               3.4	Post-pandemic homelessness services                           33
               3.5	Key points                                                    35

               4. Statutory homelessness trends                                  37
               4.1	Introduction                                                  37
               4.2 	Relating statutory homelessness statistics to
                    the Homelessness Reduction Act framework                      39
               4.3	The changing incidence of homelessness demand:
                    headline indicators and processes                             39
               4.4	Statutory homelessness: profile and causes                    43
               4.5	Temporary accommodation placements                            47
               4.6	Analysing Homelessness Reduction Act duty
                    decision outcomes                                             50
               4.7	Homelessness demand and local authority
                    homelessness actions in the initial national 2020 COVID-19
                    lockdown.                                                     52
               4.8	Key points                                                    56
viii   The homelessness monitor: England 2021                                                                                                                                        ix


                 Figure 2.1:	Trends in earnings and real earnings 2007/08-2018/19               Figure 4.18:	Households becoming homeless from non-tenure
                               (2007/08 = 100)                                               5                  accommodation: recent trends in current/former
                 Figure 2.2:   Relative poverty after housing costs (UK, 2007/08-2018/19)    6                  accommodation types 2019-20                                     54
                 Figure 2.3:	Landlord possession actions in the county courts (England &        Figure 4.19: Temporary accommodation placements, 2019-20                       55
                               Wales) Q1 2019-Q3 2020                                        9   Figure 4.20:	Greater London rough sleepers enumerated in each
                 Figure 2.4:	Landlord possession claims (England & Wales)                                      quarter, 2019-20: breakdown by CHAIN-designated
                               Q1 2019-Q3 2020                                               9                  rough sleeper status                                            56
                 Figure 2.5:	Households subject to Total Benefits Cap (Great Britain,           Figure 4.21: 	Greater London rough sleepers enumerated
                               May 2013-May 2020)                                           17                  2019-20: breakdown by nationality                               56
                 Figure 4.1:	Homelessness Reduction Act – statutory homelessness                Figure 5.1:	Core homelessness estimates by category and year,
                               decisions 2018/19 and 2019/20                                38                  England 2012-2019                                               65
                 Figure 4.2:	Eligible homelessness applications 2018/19 and 2019/20:            Figure 5.2:	Core homelessness estimates by broad region and
                               breakdown by initial decision                                40                  year, England 2012-2019                                         66
                 Figure 4.3:	Initial application decision outcomes, 2019/20 – % change          Figure 5.3:	Gender, age and household type of core homeless,
                               on 2018/19                                                   41                  sofa surfers and other statutory homeless compared with adult
                 Figure 4.4:	Initial application decision outcomes, 2019/20 – % change                         population                                                      67
                               on 2018/19 by region                                         41   Figure 5.4:	Disability and migrant status by core homeless,
                 Figure 4.5:   Main Duty decisions, 2009/10-2019/20                         42                  sofa surfers and other statutory homeless compared
                 Figure 4.6:   Referrals under ‘Duty to Refer’ 2018-2020                    43                  with adult population.                                          68
                 Figure 4.7:	Homeless applicants owed prevention or relief duties in            Figure 5.5:	Work status, low income, and financial difficulty by
                               2019/20: household type profile                              44                  core homeless, sofa surfers and other statutory homeless
                 Figure 4.8:	Homeless applicants owed prevention or relief duties in                           compared with adult population.                                 69
                               2019/20: assessed support needs                              45   Figure 5.6:	Broad regional distribution of core homeless,
                 Figure 4.9:	Homeless applicants owed prevention or relief duties in                           sofa surfers and other statutory homeless.                      70
                               2019/20: main reason for loss of last settled home           46   Figure 6.1:	‘Business as usual’ (non-COVID-19) baseline projection
                 Figure 4.10:	Local authorities’ use of temporary accommodation                                of core homelessness by category, England 2012-41               75
                               for homeless households, Mar 2009-Mar 2020                   48   Figure 6.2:	New with-COVID-19 baseline projection of core
                 Figure 4.11:	Temporary accommodation placements,                                              homelessness by category, England 2012-41                       78
                               2009-2020 (Q1): type of TA                                   48   Figure 6.3:	New with-COVID-19 baseline projection of core
                 Figure 4.12:	Outcomes of Prevention and Relief activity in                                    homelessness by broad region, England 2012-41                   79
                               2019/20 – cases where associated duties ended in period      49   Figure 6.4:	Impacts on rough sleeping of COVID-19 and successive
                 Figure 4.13:	Outcomes of Prevention and Relief activity in 2019/20                            additional policy measures in years 2021-2024
                               – cases where associated duties ended in period with                             (percent of Business as Usual increment for each element)       80
                               accommodation secured                                        50   Figure 6.5:	Impacts on core homelessness of successive a
                 Figure 4.14:	Outcomes of Prevention and Relief activity in 2019/20                            dditional policy measures in years 2021-24 (percent
                               – cases where associated duties ended in period without                          of Business as Usual increment for each policy package)         81
                               accommodation secured or new duty triggered                  51   Figure 6.6:	Summary of Impact of Policies considered individually
                 Figure 4.15:	Housing (and other) outcomes for households                                      by selected year, ranked by size of impact by 2041
                               owed the Main Duty, where duty ended in 2019/20              52                  (percent of with-COVID-19 baseline core homeless forecast)      82
                 Figure 4.16:	Recent trends in households owed prevention or                    Figure 6.7:	Total core homelessness in England with the sequential
                               relief duties, Q1 2019-Q2 2020                               53                  addition of ten policy scenarios to reduce core homelessness
                 Figure 4.17:	Households owed a prevention or relief duty:                                     in the period to 2041                                           85
                               Recent trends on main immediate reason for                        Figure 6.8:	Total core homelessness in London with the sequential
                               homelessness, 2019-20                                        53                  addition of ten policy scenarios to reduce core
                                                                                                                homelessness in the period to 2041                              86
x   The homelessness monitor: England 2021                                                                                                                          xi


              Table 5.1:	Core homelessness categories and definitions             60   Table A2.13:	‘There is sufficient funding in the current financial
              Table 5.2	Data sources used to estimate base period                                    year (2020/21) to deliver an effective response to
                            numbers in each category of core homelessness.         64                 homelessness in our area, taking into account
              Table 6.1:	Policy scenarios tested through projections                                 the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic’ (%)               101
                            model over period 2021-41                              73   Table A2.14:	Possible impact of extended priority need provisions
              Table 6.2:	Longer term impact of policies considered                                   in the Domestic Abuse Bill on councils’ ability to
                            individually on main components of core                                   assist people fleeing abuse into settled
                            homelessness (% of with-COVID-19 baseline at 2041) 83                     accommodation (%)                                       101
              Table A2.1:	Survey response rate                                    95   Table A3.1: 	Central estimates of core homelessness
              Table A2.2:	Overall number of households seeking homelessness                          by component and source, England c.2018-19              105
                            assistance in Q1 2020/21 compared with equivalent           Table A3.2:	Baseline estimates of core homelessness by
                            period in 2019/20 (%)                                  96                 element in 2018-19, showing central weighted
              Table A2.3:	Perceived change in expressed demand from specific                         total, and totals under ‘low’ and ‘high’ assumptions    106
                            groups: Q1 2020/21 compared to the equivalent period in
                            2019/20 (%)                                            96
              Table A2.4:	Looking ahead to the post-lockdown period,
                            do you anticipate any change in the numbers
                            of people in particular groups seeking assistance from
                            your Housing Options/homelessness service? (%)         97
              Table A2.5: 	In relation to prevention and relief activity,
                            and as compared with the period immediately
                            before March 2020, would you say that your
                            authority has been? (%)                                97
              Table A2.6:	Has the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 enabled
                            a more or less effective response to homelessness in
                            your area during the COVID-19 crisis than would have
                            otherwise been the case? (%)                           98
              Table A2.7:	How important have the following policy responses to
                            the COVID-19 crisis been in preventing or minimising
                            homelessness in your area? (%)                         98
              Table A2.8:	How important have the following welfare
                            changes made in response to the COVID-19
                            crisis been in preventing or minimising homelessness
                            in your area? (%)                                      99
              Table A2.10:	Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, has access to
                            private rented tenancies for homeless households
                            become easier or more difficult in your area? (%)      99
              Table A2.11:	How would you rate your authority’s capacity to
                            deal with the homelessness- related challenges
                            associated with the COVID-19 pandemic? (%)            100
              Table A2.12:	‘The Government’s emergency response has made
                            it more likely that we will be able to move people
                            experiencing rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping
                            into safe permanent housing in the long term (i.e.
                            implement a housing led response)’ (%)                100
xii   The homelessness monitor: England 2021                                     xiii


                B&B    Bed and Breakfast
                BAU    Business as Usual
                BNL    By Name List
                CHAIN	Multi-agency database recording information about rough
                       sleepers and the wider street population in London
                CPAG   Child Poverty Action Group
                CTS    Council Tax Support
                DEFRA  Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
                DHP    Discretionary Housing Payment
                DTR    Duty to Refer
                DWP    Department for Work and Pensions
                EEA    European Economic Area
                EHS    English Housing Survey
                FCA    Financial Conduct Authority
                FOI    Freedom of Information
                GDP    Gross Domestic Product
                GFC    Global Financial Crisis
                HB     Housing Benefit
                H-CLIC Case-level statutory homelessness data collection tool
                HMRC   HM Revenue & Customs
                HRA    Homelessness Reduction Act
                JRF    Joseph Rowntree Foundation
                LA     Local Authority
                LGA    Local Government Association
                LHA    Local Housing Allowance
                LWA    Local Welfare Assistance
                MD     Main Duty
                MHCLG Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
                NAO    National Audit Office
                NRPF   No Recourse to Public Funds
                ONS    Office for National Statistics
                PRS    Private Rented Sector
                RSI    Rough Sleepers Initiative
                SMD    Severe and Multiple Disadvantage
                SRHMM Sub-Regional Housing Market Model
                TA     Temporary Accommodation
                UC     Universal Credit
                UK     United Kingdom
                UKHLS UK Household Longitudinal Study
xiv   The homelessness monitor: England 2021                                                                                                                                                             Executive Summary   xv

                The Homelessness Monitor series                            single people. This is in stark contrast              exceeding that of all temporary           than half (110,000 households
                is a longitudinal study providing                          to the pre-Homelessness Reduction                     accommodation – up by 17 per cent         or individuals). Next in numerical
                an independent analysis of the                             Act era when the key headline                         in the 12 months to March 2020, and       importance was hostel and
                homelessness impacts of recent                             statistic – households ‘accepted’ by                  by 299 per cent since 2010.               similar accommodation (42,000),
                economic and policy developments                           local authorities as in ‘priority need’                                                         followed by unsuitable temporary
                in England and elsewhere in the                            – comprised only around one-third                    •T
                                                                                                                                  hanks to various temporary              accommodation and other
                United Kingdom.1 This ninth annual                         single people.                                        protective measures (especially           unconventional accommodation,
                Homelessness Monitor England                                                                                     income protection programmes              at around 19,000 each. The least
                updates our account of how                              •N
                                                                          onetheless substantial numbers                        and eviction moratoria), the              numerous group were those actually
                homelessness stands in 2020, or                          of (mainly single) homeless                             COVID-19 pandemic triggered               sleeping rough at a point in time,
                as close to 2020 as data availability                    applicants still reach the end of the                   no immediate overall increase in          which we estimate at 13,600.
                allows, and covers a year dominated by                   post- Homelessness Reduction                            homelessness applications. Indeed,
                the twin major events of the COVID-19                    Act operational procedures                              the number judged as threatened          • It is predicted that the economic
                pandemic2 and Brexit. It is also the first               without having secured settled                          with homelessness fell back                 aftermath of COVID-19 risks a
                Monitor in which a comprehensive                         accommodation, or even having had                       significantly April-June 2020 (down         substantial rise in core homelessness,
                analysis of Homelessness Reduction                       such accommodation offered to                           35 per cent on the previous quarter).       including rough sleeping, unless the
                Act processes and outcomes is                            them (around 20,000 households in                       But temporary accommodation                 Government implements a range
                included and we offer detailed                           2019/20).                                               placements surged, particularly of          of housing and welfare mitigation
                modelling estimates and forward                                                                                  single homeless people, as a result of      interventions, including continuing
                projections of extreme forms of ‘core’                  •S
                                                                          ome 48 per cent of all 2019/20                        the emergency measures to protect           with emergency accommodation
                homelessness.                                            ‘owed a duty’ applicants were judged                    people at risk of rough sleeping            measures for those at risk of rough
                                                                         as having some form of support                          during the pandemic.                        sleeping.
                Key points to emerge from our latest                     need, and in 23 per cent of (all ‘owed
                analysis are as follows:                                 a duty’) cases, this was linked to a                   • ‘Core homelessness’ in England – a     • In the longer term, the largest
                                                                         history of mental ill-health. Only                        concept which captures the most           projected impact on reducing core
                • Some 305,000 single people,                            a small proportion of applicants                          severe and immediate forms of             homelessness would result from a
                  couples and families registered                        are subject to ‘complex support                           homelessness – is estimated to have       large expansion of total and social
                  homelessness applications with                         needs’ (e.g., 3 per cent of ‘owed                         totalled nearly 220,000 in 2019,          housing supply and consistent, large-
                  local authorities in 2019/20. Of                       a duty’ applicants in London had                          having risen from about 187,000 in        scale application of Housing First
                  these, 289,000 (95%) were judged                       support needs associated with drug                        2012. During 2020 these numbers           accompanied by appropriate support
                  as homeless or threatened with                         dependency; 7 per cent in rest of                         dropped somewhat to around                for mental health and substance
                  homelessness.                                          England).                                                 200,000, mainly due to the effects        misuse issues, alongside the raising
                                                                                                                                   of the Government’s emergency             of the Local Housing Allowance. A
                • Amongst those threatened with                         • Temporary accommodation                                 measures in response to the               meaningful levelling up of economic
                  homelessness and entitled to a                           placements show a 91 per cent                           COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 there          performance across the English
                  ‘prevention’ duty half (49%) are single                  increase since 2011 (and 9 per cent                     were an estimated 10,500 people           regions would also contribute to the
                  adults and amongst those actually                        in the 12 months to March 2020).                        currently sleeping rough on any           reduction of core homelessness.
                  homeless and entitled to a relief                        Bed and Breakfast hotel placements                      given night which had dropped by a
                  duty almost three-quarters (72%) are                     have continued to increase at a rate                    third on the previous year.            •L
                                                                                                                                                                            evels of infection and COVID-
                                                                                                                                                                           related deaths have been low
                1	Parallel Homelessness Monitors are being published for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. All of the UK   •T
                                                                                                                                  he largest element of core              amongst homeless people in
                   Homelessness Monitor reports are available from
                                                                                                                                 homelessness in 2018-19 was its           England, indicating an effective
                2	Fitzpatrick, S., Watts, B. & Sims, R. (2020) Homelessness Monitor England 2020: COVID-19 Crisis Response
                   Briefing. London: Crisis.           least visible manifestation, sofa         public health strategy with regards
                   homelessness-monitor/england/homelessness-monitor-england-2020-covid-19-crisis-response-briefing/             surfing, accounting for more              to this vulnerable population. Critical
xvi   The homelessness monitor: England 2021                                                                                                                                                                   Executive Summary   xvii
                  to this successful outcome was the         •L
                                                               ocal authorities expressed qualified   Trends in homelessness                                      the 81,500 prevention cases logged as
                  national ‘Everyone In’ emergency            approval for the role played by          Statutory homelessness                                      ‘duty ended’ during the year.
                  accommodation initiative for                the Homelessness Reduction Act           This year’s Monitor was the first where
                  people sleeping rough and those             legal framework in facilitating their    the analysis of statutory homelessness                      While fundamental changes to the
                  at risk; around 30,000 people in            responses to homelessness during         trends was substantially based on                           legal framework for homelessness
                  total had been assisted under these         the early pandemic period. Councils      the operation of the Homelessness                           application assessment under the
                  arrangements by autumn 2020.                more critical of the Act dislike what    Reduction Act 2017 and its associated                       Homelessness Reduction Act 2017
                                                              they perceive as the excessive           (H-CLIC) administrative dataset.                            have made ‘new homelessness’
                  he speed and clarity of the early          bureaucracy associated with it.          Some 305,000 households registered                          trend over time comparisons more
                 central Government response on                                                        homelessness applications with                              difficult, temporary accommodation
                 rapidly accommodating people                •K
                                                               ey changes to local authority          local authorities in 2019/20. Of                            placements, which can be legitimately
                 sleeping rough, eliminating the use          working practices prompted by the        these, 289,000 (95%) were judged                            graphed over a long time series,
                 of communal shelters, enhancing              COVID-19 emergency include a             as homeless or threatened with                              show a 91 per cent increase since
                 welfare benefits, and halting                shift to remote/online working with      homelessness. This is slightly higher                       2011 (and 9 per cent in the 12 months
                 evictions, was widely welcomed, with         service users, which was viewed as       than the 272,000 ‘local authority case                      to March 2020).4 Bed and Breakfast
                 local authorities and homelessness           having been largely successful. Some     actions’ as estimated for 2017/18, the                      hotel placements have continued to
                 charities also praised for rapidly rising    Councils intend to make a decisive       last year of the ‘old regime’.3                             increase at a rate exceeding that of all
                 to an unprecedented challenge.               shift away from communal forms                                                                       temporary accommodation – up by
                                                              of sleeping provision for homeless       By comparison with the Housing                              17 per cent in the 12 months to March
                  owever, subsequent ‘mixed                  people post-pandemic, though             Act 1996 regime, a much-increased                           2020, and by 299 per cent since 2010.
                 messages’ from central Government,           others feel that financial and legal     proportion of those seeking help
                 particularly on assistance to non-           constraints make the use of night        under the Homelessness Reduction                            The increased ‘visibility’ of single
                 United Kingdom nationals ineligible          shelters unavoidable.                    Act are being formally assisted under                       adults in the official homelessness
                 for benefits and on the continuation                                                  prevention or relief duties, with                           statistics is one of the most striking
                 of Everyone In, became a matter             •W
                                                               hile the COVID-19-prompted £20         the result that far fewer applicants/                       changes brought about by the new
                 of acute concern amongst local               weekly enhancement to Universal          applications are ‘progressing’ through                      legislative framework. This group
                 authorities and their third sector           Credit and Working Tax Credits have      the system as far as being assessed as                      accounted almost three-quarters (72%)
                 partners as the crisis progressed.           been widely welcomed, at the time        owed a main statutory rehousing duty.                       of all of those assessed as homeless
                                                              of writing the Government planned        This traditional headline indicator of                      and entitled to the ‘relief’ duty,
                  any local authorities offered an           to withdraw these uplifts from April     homelessness demand – at 40,000 in                          and half (49%) of those threatened
                 upbeat assessment of their own               2021. There is also no indication        2019/20 – was well below the 57,000                         with homelessness and entitled to
                 performance in response to the               that they will be extended to legacy     recorded in 2017/18.                                        a ‘prevention’ duty. This is in stark
                 homelessness consequences of the             benefits. The restoration of the                                                                     contrast to the pre- Homelessness
                 COVID-19 crisis and initial lockdown         Local Housing Allowance maxima to        A substantial proportion of 2019/20                         Reduction Act era when the key
                 period, though it was clear that the         cover 30 per cent of private sector      prevention and relief actions ended                         headline statistic – households
                 resilience of both staff and resources       rents was especially beneficial in the   with accommodation having been                              ‘accepted’ as owed the main duty
                 had been severely tested, with               context of managing homelessness         secured. Thus, households have been                         – comprised only around one-third
                 many local authorities surprised             risks, but Government plans to           enabled to retain existing – or to                          single people.
                 by the sheer scale of need that the          refreeze these rates from April 2021     obtain new – accommodation. This
                 emergency measures uncovered.                will cause dismay.                       was the outcome for most prevention                         Also notable is the emerging
                                                                                                       duty cases ended during the year                            intelligence from H-CLIC on the profile
                  hile acknowledging the large              •C
                                                               OVID-19 has inflicted extensive        (58%), with the equivalent figure for                       of support needs in the statutory
                 amount of homelessness emergency             damage on the economy and on             relief cases ended being 40 per cent.                       homeless population. While almost
                 funding made available by central            the public finances. There is acute      Assisting an applicant to obtain a new                      half (48%) of all households assessed
                 Government during the pandemic,              concern about a potential tidal wave     place to live (rather than to retain                        as owed a homelessness prevention
                 other stakeholders criticised the            of ‘new’ homelessness as the COVID-      existing housing) was, by definition, the                   or relief duty are recorded as having
                 proliferation of highly specified,           19-induced recession takes hold,         ‘accommodation secured’ result for                          a relevant support need, these needs
                 short-term funding pots, focused             Brexit causes disruption to trade and    all of the 2019/20 relief cases with this                   were highly diverse in nature. Far
                 overwhelmingly on rough sleeping,            various temporary labour market,         outcome, as well as for 51,490 (63%) of                     from being dominated by complex
                 as well as the apparently ‘transitional’     welfare and housing protections are
                 nature of the accommodation to               scaled back or ended during 2021.        3	See Figure 4.11 in: Fitzpatrick, S., Pawson, H., Bramley, G., Wood, J., Watts, B., Stephens, M. & Blenkinsopp, J.
                 be provided under the Next Steps                                                         (2019) The Homelessness Monitor: England 2019. London: Crisis. Local authority case actions’ in this context
                                                                                                          refers to the households subject to Housing 1996 main duty decisions plus those assisted by local authorities
                                                                                                          via informal prevention or relief in that year (2017/18).
                                                                                                       4	That is, at the effective start of the COVID-19 pandemic, largely preceding the impact of the Everyone In
xviii   The homelessness monitor: England 2021                                                                                                                                                                                             Executive Summary   xix
                  support needs associated with drug or                     Significantly, virtually all of this increase          temporary accommodation and other                           national application of Housing First,
                  alcohol problems, offending or rough                      resulted from growth in single adult                   unconventional accommodation,                               and increased rates of Local Housing
                  sleeping histories, as some might                         placements (especially single men)                     at around 19,000 each. The least                            Allowance). A successful levelling up
                  assume, mental or physical ill-health                     – most probably associated with the                    numerous group were those actually                          of economic performance across the
                  problems, and experience of domestic                      Everyone In emergency rough sleeper                    sleeping rough at a point in time,                          English regions would also contribute
                  violence, were more prominent.                            temporary housing initiative launched                  which we estimate at 13,600.                                to the reduction of core homelessness.
                  In fact, only a small proportion of                       in March 2020, as discussed further
                  applicants are subject to ‘complex                        below.                                                 The gradual increase in overall                             Economic, policy and COVID-19
                  support needs’ (e.g. 3 per cent of                                                                               numbers from 2012 to 2019 concealed                         impacts on homelessness
                  ‘owed a duty’ applicants in London                        Core homelessness                                      wide differences between different                          Going into COVID-19, the United
                  had support needs associated with                         For the first time in this year’s Monitor,             categories, with hostel placements                          Kingdom had experienced a decade
                  drug dependency; 7 per cent in rest of                    we present quantitative analysis of                    declining by 13 per cent, and sofa                          of austerity, which included public
                  England).                                                 ‘core homelessness’, which captures                    surfers and other unconventional                            expenditure constraints affecting
                                                                            some of the most severe and                            increasing by 16 per cent and 13 per                        public services and social security
                  Other key points to flag from                             immediate forms of homelessness.5                      cent, while rough sleeping virtually                        benefits. In 2018/19, 17 per cent of
                  analysis of these first two years of                                                                             doubled (99%) and unsuitable                                individuals in the United Kingdom
                  the Homelessness Reduction Act                            The key categories captured by core                    temporary accommodation rose by                             lived in households whose income
                  operation include some positive signs                     homelessness include people sleeping                   171 per cent.                                               before housing costs (adjusted for
                  that may allay initial concerns about                     rough, staying in places not intended                                                                              household composition) fell below
                  certain aspects of the legislation                        as residential accommodation                           Our predictions indicate that the                           the relative poverty threshold.
                  (e.g., discharge of duty on grounds of                    (e.g. cars, tents, boats, sheds, etc.),                economic aftermath of COVID-19 risks                        Research conducted by Heriot-Watt
                  ‘non-cooperation’ is rarely recorded                      living in homeless hostels, refuges                    a substantial rise in core homelessness                     University for the Joseph Rowntree
                  in practice), but also its limitations.                   and shelters, placed in unsuitable                     unless the Government implements                            Foundation indicated that some 2.4
                  Principal amongst these limitations is                    temporary accommodation (e.g. Bed                      a range of housing and welfare                              million people, including 550,000
                  that substantial numbers of (mainly                       and Breakfast hotels, Out of Area                      mitigation interventions. This should                       children, experienced destitution at
                  single) homeless applicants still reach                   Placements, etc.), and sofa surfing (i.e.,             include continuing with emergency                           some point in 2019.6 The survey also
                  the end of the post- Homelessness                         staying with non-family, on a short-                   accommodation measures for                                  found that the extent of destitution
                  Reduction Act operational procedures                      term basis, in overcrowded conditions).                those at risk of rough sleeping on a                        had grown, with the numbers of adults
                  without having secured settled                                                                                   substantial scale, maximising targeted                      and children affected rising by more
                  accommodation, or even having had                         We estimate core homelessness                          homelessness prevention measures,                           than half since 2017. Consequently,
                  such accommodation offered to                             in England to have totalled nearly                     ensuring social rehousing quotas                            the relatively stable overall poverty
                  them (around 20,000 households in                         220,000 in 2019, having risen from                     for homeless people, placing limits                         rate over the past 15 years seems to
                  2019/20).                                                 about 187,000 in 2012. During 2020                     on evictions, and implementing key                          disguise increases in very extreme
                                                                            these numbers dropped somewhat                         welfare changes (especially raising the                     experiences of hardship that reflect the
                  Thanks to various temporary protective                    to around 200,000, including a drop                    level of Local Housing Allowance to                         impacts of labour market and social
                  measures (especially eviction                             in rough sleeping by a third mainly                    the level of median actual rents (and                       security change.
                  moratoria, see below), the COVID-19                       due to the effects of the emergency                    maintaining that level).
                  pandemic triggered no immediate                           COVID-19 ‘Everyone In’ programme                                                                                   COVID-19 has caused the most
                  overall increase in homelessness                          aimed at those at risk of rough                        In the medium term, the most                                dramatic shrinkage of the economy
                  applications. However, temporary                          sleeping (see further below).                          effective policies for reducing core                        ever experienced and in any other
                  accommodation placements surged                                                                                  homelessness would be large                                 circumstances such as massive
                  in Q2 2020. By quarter end, the                           The largest element of core                            increases in welfare benefit levels                         contraction of the economy would
                  overall national total was more than                      homelessness in 2018-19 was its                        and associated measures to reduce                           have resulted in mass unemployment.
                  6,000 higher than at the start, with                      least visible manifestation, sofa                      destitution, including raising the level                    But lockdown was accompanied by
                  additional Bed and Breakfast hotel                        surfing, accounting for more than half                 of Local Housing Allowance as just                          unprecedented peacetime levels of
                  placement accounting for half of this                     (110,000 households or individuals).                   noted. In the longer term, the largest                      economic stimulation and, notably,
                  change. The latter, therefore, rose                       Next in numerical importance was                       projected impact on reducing core                           the various job ‘furlough’ schemes.
                  from some 8,000 to some 11,000 over                       hostel and similar accommodation                       homelessness would result from a                            The first Coronavirus Job Retention
                  the period – a 40 per cent increase.                      (42,000), followed by unsuitable                       large expansion of total and social                         Scheme, introduced in April 2020,
                                                                                                                                   housing supply (accompanied by the                          met 80 per cent of a furloughed
                  5	The core homelessness concept was introduced in research undertaken with Crisis in 2017 and updated           maintenance of social housing quotas                        employee’s salary up to £2,500 per
                     in 2018, with this Monitor representing a further major update. Bramley, G. (2017) Homelessness
                     Projections: Core homelessness in Great Britain. Summary Report. London: Crisis.
                                                                                                                                   for core homeless households), the                          month (with the Government funding
                     uk/media/237582/crisis_homelessness_projections_2017.pdf; and Bramley, G. (2019) Housing Supply
                     Requirements across Great Britain for Low-Income Households and Homeless People: Research for Crisis          6	See Fitzpatrick, S., Bramley, G., Blenkinsopp, J., Wood, J., Sosenko, F., Littlewood, M., Johnsen, S., Watts,
                     and the National Housing Federation; Main Technical Report. Edinburgh: Heriot-Watt University. https://doi.      B., Treanor, M., & McIntyre, J. (2020) Destitution in the UK 2020. York: JRF.
                     org/10.17861/bramley.2019.04                                                                                     destitution-uk-2020
xx   The homelessness monitor: England 2021                                                                                                                                                                                                 Executive Summary   xxi
               75 per cent of this cost). The scheme                     2020 Summer Statement reaffirming                       letter instructed all local authorities in                    under Everyone In did not return to the
               was extended until the end of March,                      planned housing investment as                           England to move everyone sleeping                             streets in winter.17 Various other smaller
               and then, in December, the Chancellor                     announced earlier in the year. The                      rough and in communal shelters into                           pots of funding targeted at rough
               announced a further extension until                       Affordable Homes Programme will be                      a safe place, ideally in self-contained                       sleeping were announced over the
               the end of April 2021. By the end of                      worth £12.2 billion over the five years                 accommodation, over the following                             course of the year, to operate alongside
               October, the scheme had supported                         to 2025/26, with annual spending                        two days.12 Over 90 per cent of                               pre-existing funding streams targeting
               almost 10 million (9.9 m) jobs at a cost                  rising by a quarter from £1.95 billion                  people sleeping rough known to                                homelessness, including the third
               of £46.4 billion.7 The initial furlough                   in 2020/21 to an average of £2.44                       Councils at the beginning of the crisis                       year of the Rough Sleepers Initiative
               scheme was also, according to our                         billion.8 However, the new Affordable                   were reported to have been offered                            programme, amounting to £112million
               local authority survey, crucial in                        Housing Programme differs from its                      accommodation in commercial hotels,                           in 2020/21. In the Spending Review on
               mitigating homelessness risks during                      predecessors in some important ways:                    Bed and Breakfasts, holiday lets,                             25th November, the Chancellor made
               the COVID-19 crisis: 80 per cent of                       in particular, it shifts funding away                   university accommodation or housing                           available further new monies (£151
               respondents considered it ‘very’ or                       from renting and towards ownership                      association stock, many of whom                               million) for local authorities to spend
               ‘somewhat’ important in this regard.                      by reverting to a roughly 50:50 split                   had been sleeping on the streets for                          on rough sleeping in 2021-22.
                                                                         between these tenures.9                                 years. By autumn 2020, around 33,000
               Lockdown brought the housing market                                                                               people had been assisted under these                          Notable by its absence, at the outset
               to a halt, whilst the wider economic                      Access to long-term housing was the                     ‘Everyone In’ arrangements.13                                 of the COVID-19 crisis, was any notion
               dislocation brought fears of mass                         capacity challenge most widely seen                                                                                   of a purely ‘localist’ approach to
               evictions and mortgage possessions.                       as having been posed (or emphasised)                    This Everyone In initiative was                               assisting the homeless population:18
               The Government acted to protect                           by the pandemic by local authorities                    preceded by £3.2 million targeted                             instead, strong, decisive and hands-
               tenants and mortgaged owners from                         in our national online survey. Some 61                  funding to local authorities to support                       on leadership was offered by central
               eviction during the pandemic by                           per cent of local authority respondents                 people sleeping rough and those                               Government and received and acted
               introducing compulsory and blanket                        considered that their authority was                     at risk, alongside £4.6 billion un-                           upon by Councils and other local
               forbearance on the part of landlords                      poorly or otherwise inadequately                        ringfenced funds14 to help councils                           stakeholders with a sense of urgency
               and mortgage lenders. For renters,                        equipped to deal with the crisis in                     cope with the overall financial                               and collective endeavour. While this
               forbearance relied on two main                            this respect. Among the minority of                     pressures of the pandemic.15 On 24th                          weakened over time, as discussed
               mechanisms. First, legal proceedings                      authorities where it became easier to                   May the Government announced                                  below, homeless people were, by and
               were halted and sometimes                                 access social rental tenancies during                   that it was to bring forward £161                             large, kept safe in in the early stages of
               enforcement action suspended.                             the pandemic, explanatory responses                     million out of an (increased) £433                            the pandemic. Levels of infection and
               Second, notice periods have been                          related in the main to amended                          million four-year budget to provide                           COVID-related deaths have been kept
               extended to six months until at least                     housing association or council                          6,000 new supported housing units                             low amongst this highly vulnerable
               the end of March 2021 in the majority                     allocation policies that gave increased                 for ex-rough sleepers, with 3,300                             population, so far at least, indicating a
               of cases (with exceptions for anti-social                 or overwhelming priority to homeless                    of these units to become available                            successful public health strategy.19
               behaviour and fraud). In this year’s                      households, usually for a time limited                  over the next 12 months.16 On 24th
               national online survey, 87 per cent                       period.                                                 June, it was announced that £105                              Other crucial factors in mitigating the
               of responding Councils considered                                                                                 million would be made available for                           impact of COVID-19 on homeless
               the evictions moratorium to have                          As reported in the Homelessness                         interim accommodation to ensure                               people included substantial additional
               been ‘very important’ in preventing or                    Monitor England 2020: COVID-19                          that those currently being assisted                           resources, radically improved
               minimising homelessness in their area.                    Crisis Response Briefing,10 (July 2020),
                                                                         the pandemic prompted a radical and                     12		Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (2020) Coronavirus (COVID-19): Letter from
               Notably, however, the Chancellor                          rapid nation-wide shift in responses                          Minister Hall to Local Authorities on Plans to Protect Rough Sleepers. Online: MHCLG.
               chose not to increase the supply of                       to some of the most extreme forms                       13		Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (2020) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency
               new affordable housing as part of the                     of homelessness with a remarkable                             Accommodation Survey Data: November 2020. Online: MHCLG.
               Government’s COVID-19 stimulus                            degree of success and speed.11 On                             publications/coronavirus-covid-19-emergency-accommodation-survey-data-november-2020
                                                                                                                                 14		As at October 2020 National Audit Office (2021) Investigation into the Housing of Rough Sleepers During
               package, in contrast to the response                      26th March, a Ministry of Housing,
                                                                                                                                       the Pandemic. London: NAO
               to the 2008 financial crisis, with his                    Communities and Local Government                        15		National Audit Office (2021) Investigation into the Housing of Rough Sleepers During the Pandemic.
                                                                                                                                       London: NAO
                                                                                                                                 16		Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (2020) 6,000 New Supported Homes as Part
               7	Gov.UK (2020) HMRC Coronavirus (COVID-19) statistics, last updated 17 December. Online: Gov.UK https://              of Landmark Commitment to End Rough Sleeping. Online: MHCLG.
               8	Perry, J. (2020) ‘Building back better? Post-Covid housing programmes’, in Stephens, M. et. al. (eds) UK       17		Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (2020) £105 Million to keep Rough Sleepers
                  Housing Review Autumn Briefing. Coventry: CIH                                                                        Safe and off the Streets During Coronavirus Pandemic. Online: MHCLG.
               9	Ibid.                                                                                                                news/105-million-to-keep-rough-sleepers-safe-and-off-the-streets-during-coronavirus-pandemic
               10	Fitzpatrick, S., Watts, B. & Sims, R. (2020) Homelessness Monitor England 2020: COVID-19 Crisis Response      18		Fitzpatrick, S., Pawson, H. & Watts, B. (2020) 'The limits of localism: a decade of disaster on homelessness
                  Briefing. London: Crisis.                  in England', Policy and Politics, 48(4), 541-561.
                  homelessness-monitor/england/homelessness-monitor-england-2020-covid-19-crisis-response-briefing/              19		Lewer, D., Braithwaite, I., Bullock, M., Eyre, M.T., White, P.J., Aldridge, R.W., Story, A. & Hayward, A.C. (2020)
               11	See also National Audit Office (2021) Investigation into the Housing of Rough Sleepers During the Pandemic.         ‘Covid amongst people experiencing homelessness in England: a modelling study’, The Lancet, 8(12), 1181-
                  London: NAO                                                                                                          1191.
xxii   The homelessness monitor: England 2021                                                                                                                                                                            Executive Summary   xxiii
                 collaborative working (especially                      both local authorities and key                        accommodation of non-United                          of the senior homelessness experts
                 between health and homelessness                        informants raised concerns about the                  Kingdom nationals ineligible for                     we interviewed mid-pandemic.
                 services), and a workforce that adapted                deleterious impacts on homelessness                   benefits and the continuation of                     Interestingly, the local authority
                 swiftly to a wholly unprecedented                      if enhancements to Local Housing                      Everyone In, became a matter of                      survey also indicated that only a very
                 challenge. While local authorities                     Allowance and Universal Credit were                   acute concern for Local Authorities                  small number of councils expected
                 generally gave an upbeat assessment                    not sustained in the longer-term,                     and their third sector partners as the               to continue to use dormitory-style
                 of their own performance in response                   about the failure to uprate ‘legacy’                  crisis progressed. It also resulted in               provision post-pandemic. However,
                 to homelessness during the COVID-19                    benefits such as Income Support,20                    growing variation in local authority                 given the high-profile Government
                 crisis, it was clear that the resilience               and the offsetting effect of the Total                practice across the country as the                   commitment to ‘end’ rough sleeping
                 of both staff and resources had been                   Benefit Cap on the Local Housing                      year progressed, notwithstanding a                   by 2024, fears were expressed by some
                 severely tested, with the National Audit               Allowance uplift in particular.                       change in the Homelessness Code of                   key informants that communal shelter
                 Office remarking that many councils                                                                          Guidance advising local authorities                  provision, or at least more congregate-
                 were surprised by the sheer scale of                   Moreover, the official homelessness                   to respond sympathetically to those                  style hostels, might be expanded to
                 need that Everyone In uncovered. The                   statistics for April-June 2020 capture                made vulnerable as a result of the                   help meet this target. Furthermore, the
                 large amount of emergency funding                      the dramatic impact of the evictions                  pandemic.22 The protections offered                  speed with which the capital budget
                 made available by central Government                   ban, with the number of homeless                      to those in asylum accommodation,                    in the Next Steps programme was
                 to respond to homelessness during the                  households assisted as a result of the                for example, has also weakened in the                required to be spent was argued as
                 pandemic was widely acknowledged                       ending of private and social tenancies                second and third COVID lockdowns.                    undermining the ability to deploy these
                 by key informants, but the proliferation               plummeting, while cases associated                                                                         resources strategically and, potentially,
                 of highly specified, short-term funding                with family and friend exclusions                     Key informants pointed to the strong                 opening up the danger of damaging
                 pots was viewed as less than strategic,                or domestic violence remained                         foundations laid by the Rough Sleepers               new ‘path dependencies’ associated
                 with rapid turnaround bidding                          steady. The suspension of evictions                   Initiative and the Homelessness                      with hasty investments in inappropriate
                 processes layering further stress onto                 from asylum accommodation, and                        Reduction Act in enabling a more                     forms of accommodation.
                 struggling local authorities.                          easement of restrictions on support for               effective response to COVID-19
                                                                        people originally from the European                   than might otherwise have been                       Conclusion
                 Supportive wider changes to welfare                    Economic Area who are not in                          the case, particularly with regards to               The sharp disjuncture represented
                 policy were also vital in protecting                   employment,21 were humanitarian                       single homeless people. That said,                   by the catastrophe of the COVID-19
                 homeless people and other low-                         interventions that also likely saved                  the Homelessness Reduction Act                       pandemic opens up an opportunity to
                 income groups during the crisis. In                    lives, or at least immense suffering.                 received only qualified endorsement                  reflect on the shape of homelessness
                 particular, the raising of the Local                                                                         from local authority respondents with                services in the future, and in particular
                 Housing Allowance maximum to cover                     It is striking that, despite the scale and            regard to the role it played during the              the future role of congregate models
                 the 30th percentile of private rents                   apparent success of the Everyone In                   pandemic; those who were positive                    of accommodation, especially that
                 was considered ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’                    initiative, enumerated levels of rough                pointed to its pivot towards earlier                 employing dormitory-style shared
                 important in mitigating homelessness                   sleeping in London, as captured in                    forms of intervention, while the (very               sleeping provision. On the more
                 risks by 82 per cent of local authorities              the CHAIN dataset, did not alter much                 small) minority who were singularly                  immediate horizon, a pressing
                 in our national survey, while the                      during 2020, with new rough sleepers                  critical flagged what they perceived as              priority remains effective move-on
                 corresponding percentage was                           even spiking during the most active                   excessive bureaucracy associated with                arrangements for people temporarily
                 almost as high (74%) with regard to                    phase of Everyone In (April-June                      specified operational procedures and                 accommodated during the COVID-19
                 the temporary suspension of benefit                    2020). However, the extent to which                   statistical monitoring.                              crisis, especially those with No
                 sanctions. Around two-thirds of all                    these statistics reflect 'real' patterns                                                                   Recourse to Public Funds who, by
                 local authority respondents (66-68%)                   in levels of rough sleeping over the                  One striking point to emerge during                  autumn 2020, comprised around half
                 considered additional Local Welfare                    course of this extraordinary year, as                 the pandemic was the extent to                       of the population accommodated in
                 Assistance funding, enhancement of                     opposed to variations in the intensity                which dormitory-style shelters have                  London under ‘Everyone In’.
                 Universal Credit standard allowances                   of outreach activity and data capture,                continued in use to accommodate
                 (by £20 per week), and the temporary                   is difficult to judge                                 homeless people in at least some parts               The 2022 Homelessness Monitor
                 suspension of (most) debt-related                                                                            of England. Over half (52%) of local                 England will be able to assess the
                 benefit deductions, as likewise                        However, subsequent ‘mixed                            authorities reported at least some                   success or otherwise of efforts to
                 important in preventing or minimising                  messages’ from central Government,                    homelessness accommodation of this                   resolve the predicament of these
                 homelessness in their area. However,                   particularly with regard to the                       type in their area pre-pandemic, albeit              vulnerable migrants, as well as to
                                                                                                                              often confined to winter or extreme                  stem the potential tidal wave of ‘new’
                 20	Child Poverty Action Group (2020) Supporting Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Online: CPAG.        weather conditions. A decisive shift                 homelessness expected as the COVID-
                 21		Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (2020) Letter from Minister for Rough Sleeping
                                                                                                                              away from the use of night shelters                  19-induced recession takes hold, Brexit
                       on Funding for Emergency Accommodation During the Pandemic, and Support for EEA Rough Sleepers.        was, unsurprisingly, a priority of many              causes disruption to trade and various
                       Online: MHCLG.
                       eea-rough-sleepers                                                                                     22	See
xxiv   The homelessness monitor: England 2021                                                                                                                        1. Introduction   1
                 temporary labour market, welfare and
                 housing protections are scaled back
                 or ended. More positively, it should
                 also enable reflection on the extent
                                                              1. Introduction
                 to which opportunities to ‘build back
                 better’ are starting to materialise in the
                 post-pandemic era.

                 Longer-term, a key factor in
                 determining economic prospects               1.1 Introduction                                       of the recent history of homelessness
                 and the level of social protection is        This study provides an independent                     in England should consult with the
                 whether the Government returns to a          analysis of the impact on homelessness                 previous Homelessness Monitors for
                 policy of austerity in order to reduce       from recent economic and policy                        England, which are available on Crisis's
                 the levels of debt built up as a result      developments in England. It considers                  website.24 Parallel Homelessness
                 of COVID-19. The lesson of the last 10       both the consequences of the post-                     Monitors are being published for other
                 years is that this will be of fundamental    2007 economic and housing market                       parts of the United Kingdom (UK).
                 importance to determining the context        recession, and the subsequent recovery,
                 of homelessness over the next decade.        and also the impact of policy changes                  1.2 Scope of report
                                                              implemented under the Conservative-                    There is a great deal of debate on
                                                              Liberal Democrat Coalition                             the most appropriate definition of
                                                              Government (2010-2015), and the post                   homelessness, with stakeholders
                                                              May 2015 Conservative Governments                      often disagreeing vigorously on where
                                                              under Prime Ministers David Cameron,                   the boundary should lie between
                                                              Theresa May and Boris Johnson.                         ‘homelessness’ and other forms
                                                                                                                     of housing need.25 In order for this
                                                              This ninth annual report provides                      report to be as comprehensive and
                                                              an account of how homelessness                         inclusive as possible, we adopt a range
                                                              stands in England in 2020 (or as                       of definitions or ‘perspectives’ on
                                                              close to 2020 as data availability will                homelessness, considering the impacts
                                                              allow), and analyses key trends in                     of relevant policy and economic
                                                              the period running up to 2020. This                    changes on the following (partially
                                                              year's report focuses in particular                    overlapping) groups:
                                                              on what has changed over the past
                                                              year, with a particular focus on the                   • ‘Statutorily homeless households’:
                                                              impacts associated with the COVID-19                      that is, households who seek or
                                                              pandemic. Note that a Homelessness                        receive housing assistance from
                                                              Monitor England 2020: COVID-19 Crisis                     local authorities (LAs) on grounds of
                                                              Response Briefing23 has already been                      being currently or imminently without
                                                              published, in July 2020, to capture                       accommodation.
                                                              key homelessness developments
                                                              during the initial lockdown period. We                 •P
                                                                                                                       eople experiencing ‘core
                                                              also for the first time this year, in this              homelessness’:26 this refers to
                                                              main Homelessness Monitor report,                       households who are currently
                                                              provide an analysis which projects                      experiencing the most acute forms
                                                              homelessness trends in England into                     of homelessness. It includes people
                                                              the future.                                             in the following situations: rough
                                                              Readers who would like a fuller account                 sleeping; sleeping in cars, tents and

                                                              23	Fitzpatrick, S., Watts, B. & Sims, R. (2020) Homelessness Monitor England 2020: COVID-19 Crisis Response
                                                                  Briefing. London: Crisis.
                                                              24	See
                                                              25	Busch-Geertsema, V., Culhane, D. & Fitzpatrick, S. (2016) ‘Developing a global framework for
                                                                  conceptualising and measuring homelessness’, Habitat International, 55, 124-132. https://www.
                                                              26	Bramley, G. (2017) Homelessness Projections: Core homelessness in Great Britain. Summary Report.
                                                                  London: Crisis.
2   The homelessness monitor: England 2021                                                                                                                                                                                                     1. Introduction   3
                public transport, unlicensed squatting,                 •F
                                                                          ourth, for the fifth Homelessness                     Theoretical, historical and international                  1.5 Structure of report
                or occupation of non-residential                         Monitor report in a row we have                         perspectives indicate that the causation                   The structure of this year’s
                buildings; staying in hostels, refuges                   conducted a bespoke online survey                       of homelessness is multi-dimensional,                      Homelessness Monitor report differs
                and shelters; living in ‘unsuitable’                     of England’s 314 LAs (in summer/                        with no single ‘trigger’ that is either                    somewhat to that of previous reports.
                temporary accommodation (TA) (e.g.,                      autumn 2020). The main aim of this                      ‘necessary’ or ‘sufficient’ for it to occur.               Chapter 2 reviews the wider context
                Bed and Breakfast (B&B)); sofa-surfing                   particular survey was to understand                     Individual, interpersonal and structural                   for homelessness, including economic,
                (i.e., staying with non-family, on a                     how the housing, social security,                       factors all play a role – and interact with                poverty and labour market trends,
                short-term basis, in overcrowded                         labour market and other COVID-19                        each other – and the balance of causes                     housing market developments, and
                conditions).                                             related policy responses were                           differs over time, across countries, and                   social security policy changes: all of
                                                                         impacting on homelessness trends                        between demographic groups.                                this heavily impacted by responses to
              1.3 Research methods                                       and responses at local level. In all, 148                                                                          the COVID-19 crisis. Chapter 3 shifts
              To date, five main methods have been                       (47%) of all LAs in England responded                   With respect to the main structural                        focus to homelessness-specific policies
              employed in this longitudinal study:                       to the survey with a very even spread                   factors, international comparative                         and practices at national and local
                                                                         across all broad regions. Note that,                    research, and the experience of                            level, including in direct response to
                irst, relevant literature, legal and                    in order to achieve this high survey                    previous UK recessions, suggests that                      the pandemic. Chapter 4 provides a
               policy documents are reviewed each                        response rate, amid the extraordinary                   housing market trends and policies                         fully updated analysis of the available
               year.                                                     crisis conditions engendered by the                     have the most direct impact on levels                      statistical data on the current scale of
                                                                         pandemic, a much lengthier time                         of homelessness, with the influence                        and recent trends in homelessness in
                econd, we undertake annual                              window for responses was allowed                        of labour-market change more likely                        England. For the first time this analysis
               interviews with a sample of key                           than we would normally offer (from                      to be lagged and diffuse, and strongly                     is substantially based on the operation
               informants from the statutory and                         mid-July to mid October 2020).                          mediated by welfare arrangements and                       of the Homelessness Reduction
               voluntary sectors across England.                         This variability in the precise timing                  other contextual factors. The central                      Act (HRA) 2017, in force from 1st
               The current sample of 15 key                              of survey responses is taken into                       role that poverty plays in shaping                         April 2018. This chapter also reviews
               informants includes representatives                       account in the interpretation of the                    homelessness risks in the UK is also                       data associated with the COVID-19
               of homelessness service providers, as                     results that we offer, especially in light              now well established.30                                    prompted homelessness initiatives, led
               well as other key stakeholders with                       of the rapid nature of policy change                                                                               by Government and implemented by
               a national overview of relevant areas                     over this period. See Appendix 2 for                    The individual vulnerabilities, support                    Local Authorities and their voluntary
               of policy and practice. Some of these                     details.                                                needs, and ‘risk taking’ behaviours                        sector partners. Chapter 5 provides
               participants were interviewed in the                                                                              implicated in some people’s                                estimates of the current scale of
               spring of 2020,27 during the initial                     •F
                                                                          ifth, for the first time in this                      homelessness are themselves often,                         core homelessness in England, while
               COVID-19 lockdown, and others in                          Homelessness Monitor series, we                         though not always, also rooted in the                      Chapter 6 projects trends in these
               autumn 2020,28 as the second wave                         incorporate a statistical modelling                     pressures associated with poverty and                      forms of homelessness into the future.
               of the pandemic took hold. See                            exercise which both estimates                           other forms of structural disadvantage.                    All of these chapters are informed
               Appendix 1 for the basic topic guide                      ‘core’ forms of homelessness, and                       At the same time, the ‘anchor’ social                      by the insights derived from our in-
               used to structure these interviews,                       projects trends in these forms of                       relationships which can act as a primary                   depth interviews with key informants
               though note that this guide was                           homelessness into the future. See                       ‘buffer’ to homelessness, can                              conducted in 2020, and from the
               tailored for each interviewee and                         Appendix 3 for technical details.                       be put under considerable strain by                        statistical and qualitative information
               adjusted appropriately between the                                                                                stressful financial circumstances. Thus,                   gleaned from this year's online survey
               spring and autumn interviews.                            1.4 Causation and homelessness                           deteriorating economic conditions                          of LAs. In Chapter 7 we summarise the
                                                                        All of the Homelessness Monitors                         in England could also be expected                          main findings of this year's report.
                hird, we undertake detailed statistical                are underpinned by a conceptual                          to generate more ‘individual’ and                          Each edition of the Monitor adopts a
               analysis on a) relevant economic                         framework on the causation of                            ‘interpersonal’ vulnerabilities to                         particular theme. This year, for obvious
               and social trends in England; and                        homelessness that has been used                          homelessness over time, with any                           reasons, the Monitor is primarily
               b) the scale, nature and trends                          to inform our interpretation of the                      improvement in such conditions                             concerned with the repercussions
               in homelessness amongst the                              likely impacts of economic and policy                    tending to have the reverse effect.                        of the COVID-19 crisis for homeless
               sub‑groups noted above.                                  change.29                                                The longer-term structural, social,                        people, both now and in the future.
                                                                                                                                 economic and health effects of
                                                                                                                                 COVID-19 are, of course, yet to emerge.
              27	The spring 2020 interviews were drawn upon in the July 2020 Briefing Paper, see Fitzpatrick, S., Watts, B. &
                  Sims, R. (2020) Homelessness Monitor England 2020: COVID-19 Crisis Response Briefing. London: Crisis.
              28	We are particularly grateful to two interviewees who allowed us to interview them twice – in spring and
                  again in autumn 2020 – in order to update us on how responses to the pandemic had unfolded over the
                  course of the year.
              29	For a more detailed account of this conceptual framework please consult with Chapter 2 in the first
                  Homelessness Monitor: Fitzpatrick, S., Pawson, H., Bramley, G. & Wilcox, S. (2011) The Homelessness            30	Bramley, B. & Fitzpatrick, S. (2018) ‘Homelessness in the UK: who is most at risk?’, Housing Studies, 33:1,
                  Monitor: Tracking the Impacts of Policy and Economic Change in England 2011-2013. London: Crisis.                  96-116.
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