Help is at hand to tackle the housing challenge

By Martin Walker | 04 December 2023

There can be little doubt that homelessness, and specifically the pressures around temporary accommodation, has become an accelerating issue for many councils over recent years.

Nationally, more than 100,000 households are living in temporary accommodation – up 10% from 12 months previously and the highest figure on record. This is a concern with regard to unmet housing need, but also because of the financial pressures it places on councils.

Of course, prevention will always be key to addressing homelessness, whether that be at a strategic level, in targeted prevention work or in crisis prevention. A dilemma many councils face is wanting to invest resources in prevention work, while in parallel grappling with increasing numbers of people at crisis point.

Another challenge that councils face is understanding which policy levers and interventions make the most sense in meeting need and achieving value for money. Partnerships with the third sector or community impact funds? Partnerships with registered providers? Incentives to the private rented sector? Investment agreements with the private sector? A delivery vehicle to purchase properties?

Earlier this year, Local Partnerships (with financial support from the Local Government Association) developed a tool in conjunction with Manchester City Council to help councils assess the scale of their challenge.

The purpose of the tool is to provide a rough order of magnitude assessment of the likely future profile, over a defined time period, of household types and numbers that will require temporary accommodation, and the consequential cost to a council’s revenue budget. Crucially, it enables ‘invest to save’ propositions to be assessed against a counterfactual position.

The tool also monitors and evaluates changes in some of the main contributory factors to rising temporary accommodation spend (such as housing affordability, housing demand and housing supply), and can assist with budget planning.

We recently held a launch webinar with more than 100 councils in attendance, and we hope that many will now go on to utilise the tool for their areas.

We would be very happy to chat through how this could be used in your area too: please contact martin.walker@localpartnerships.gov.uk

Martin Walker is Senior Director, Local Partnerships @LP_localgov

localpartnerships.org.uk

This article is sponsored content for The MJ

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