Valid view point on the way forward for the PRS?Make Text Bigger
Have any Property118 readers and contributors read the thorough Crisis report on homelessness? You seem to have a number of luminaries who could throw some light on what appears to be a thorough and detailed report.
There may be an alternative valid view point on the way forward for the PRS.
Key findings England 2019
- This year’s Monitor comes at a time when there has been some of the most significant policy developments in recent time, with the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act in April 2018, and the Rough Sleeping Strategy in Summer 2018. The findings reflect a modest – but palpable – sense of relief, amongst both local authorities and key informants at these policy developments.
- 71 per cent of local authorities participating in this year’s LA survey reported that homelessness had been recently increasing – in a quarter of cases to a “significant” extent. Nationally, 2017/18 saw a small drop in the recorded statutory homelessness caseload, although it still remains 42 per cent above their 2009 low point
- The extraordinary rise since 2010 in the number of households made homeless by the ending of private tenancies seems finally to have peaked. Homelessness temporary accommodation placements, however, have continued to rise, and now stand 71 per cent higher than in 2011, with a disproportionate rise in Bed & Breakfast use also ongoing.
- After rapid growth since 2010 rough sleeping appears to have levelled of somewhat in England with official estimates recording a 2 per cent decrease nationally. However, there are still rising trends in three of England’s four broad regions, including core cities such as London, Birmingham and Manchester, and amongst Central and Eastern European migrants.
- Very few local authority respondents believed that existing social housing provision in their area is commensurate with homelessness needs, but many were at least equally concerned about the problematic profile of the local social housing stock portfolio, mismatched to need. There were also widespread anxieties about ongoing changes to housing association tenancy allocation policies impeding local authorities’ ability to resolve homelessness.
- Private rents seem to be falling in real terms across the country as a whole, but rising in London. Affordability in the sector as a whole also seems to be improving, and repossessions falling. However the growth in the private rented sector (only marginally reversed in the last year) has exposed many more low-income households to higher housing costs, a smaller proportion of which are protected through housing allowances in the benefit system.
- The safety net once provided by Housing Benefit, whereby post housing incomes were protected from erosion below basic benefit levels, has now effectively ended for the bulk of private tenants in receipt of benefit across the country, with young people under 35 particularly badly affected by reduced Local Housing Allowance rates and the working age benefit freeze.
- There is considerable concern amongst local authority respondents of the ongoing expected impact of welfare reform on homelessness in their area. The full roll out of UC is the subject of greatest concern with nearly two thirds of LAs anticipating a “significant” homelessness increase as a result. Aside from anxieties on UC, most LAs anticipated that homelessness would “significantly” increase due to then freeze in LHA rates (53%) and other working age benefits (51%), with almost as many LAs (47%) reporting likewise for the lowered benefit cap.
- This year’s Homelessness Monitor does however provide encouraging evidence that the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) is enabling councils to help more people in housing need. Most local authorities reported that the HRA has enabled a more person-centred approach to managing homelessness in their area and two-thirds of authorities saw the Act as having positive impacts for single people. While this is a positive step forward, there remain pressing structural issues that if unresolved risk reversing the positive steps achieved by the HRA so far.
The Homelessness Monitor is a longitudinal study, commissioned by Crisis and is funded by Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, providing an independent analysis of the homelessness impacts of recent economic and policy developments in the United Kingdom. It considers both the consequences of the post-2007 economic and housing market recession, and the subsequent recovery, and also the impact of policy changes.
A wide definition of homelessness is adopted in the Homelessness Monitor, and considers the impacts of relevant policy and economic changes on all of the following homeless groups:
- People sleeping rough.
- Single homeless people living in hostels, shelters and temporary supported accommodation.
- Statutorily homeless households – households who seek housing assistance from local authorities on grounds of being currently or imminently without accommodation.
- ‘Hidden homeless’ households – people who may be considered homeless but whose situation is not ‘visible’ either on the streets or in official statistics
The series uses four main research methods:
- Review of literature, legal and policy documents
- Annual interviews with key informants from statutory and voluntary sectors
- Statistical analysis on a) economic and social trends, particularly post-2007; and b) trends in the four homeless groups
- Online survey of local authorities
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