NAO: Ministers' approach to homelessness has been intentionally light touch

By Matthew Wilkins | 09 October 2017

Homelessness in England in all its forms – including rough sleeping and families placed in temporary accommodation by councils – has risen significantly in recent years. Despite this, the government’s approach to tackling it has been light touch. For the Homelessness Reduction Act to have the greatest chance of reducing homelessness, there are several measures that we recommend the government takes to maximise its grip on this issue.  

Nationally, the number of households living in temporary accommodation has risen from 48,240 at the end of 2010/11 to 77,240 at the end of 2016/17 – an increase of 60%. In March 2017 these households contained more than 120,000 children. As is now visible in city and town centres throughout England, the most substantial growth of all has occurred in rough sleeping. The number of rough sleepers counted and estimated on a single night in England in the autumn of 2016 was 4,134 – up by 134% on a similar count in 2010. In 2015/16, local authorities in England spent £1.15bn on homelessness services, and worked with 105,240 further households threatened with homelessness, helping them to stay in their own homes.

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